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Gas Tax Takes Center Stage In Transportation Revenue Debate

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Under the radar and maybe into your pocket. With big issues like gun control and the death penalty in the spotlight in Annapolis, another bit of legislation could hit the family budget.

Alex DeMetrick reports it’s the possibility of a hike in the gas tax.

There’s never a good time for pain at the pump, especially when it hits earlier than usual.

“Oh, it’s awful. I mean, I’m putting in at least $100 a week in my car,” said Tammy Haley.

Now talk is surfacing of a possible gas tax increase.

“Yeah, I was listening to Peter Franchot on the radio talking about the state of Maryland wanting to raise the gas tax and it’s shocking,” said Randall Hunt.

But it’s also the state with one of the worst commutes in the country.

“We’re not going to solve that problem by investing less. We have a flat tax on gasoline that hasn’t been changed since 1992,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

“Absolutely not. We don’t need it. Motorists are already paying enough,” said Susan Krebs.

Krebs believes there’s another way to get people out of gridlock: by making sure fees like car registrations are spent on transportation, not something else, and a redirection of money away from mass transit and into roads and bridges.

“Eighty percent travel on roads to get to work and eight percent use mass transit,” Krebs said.

“I myself prefer to see us dedicate a penny on the sales tax,” O’Malley said.

Which might spread the pain away from the pump.

“I ain’t gonna be able to drive my car. I’ll have to get on the bus,” said Haley.

Right now, nothing is certain one way or the other about an increase in the gas tax or legislation that would keep transportation funds from being raided for other projects.

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