ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Prices at the pump may be going up. Governor Martin O’Malley has unveiled his new transportation plan, which includes an increase in the gas tax. It’s a move leaders say is critical. Meghan McCorkell has details on the new plan.
Governor O’Malley says his plan would generate $3.4 billion over the next five years.
Prices at the pump may take another hit.
“If we want better results, we must make better choices,” said O’Malley.
Flanked by House and Senate leadership, the governor announced a new transportation investment plan. With crumbling infrastructure, transit projects on hold and the state’s transportation fund near bankruptcy, leaders say something’s got to give.
“We know it’s a tough economic time. We think we’re doing this in the appropriate way that we can phase this in,” said House Speaker Del. Mike Busch.
Under a new proposal, the wholesale price of gasoline would increase two percent starting July 1–that translates to about two cents a gallon. In 2014, it would go up to four percent, about nine cents per gallon. The state’s 23.5 percent per gallon tax would drop five cents.
Just last year, the governor proposed a six percent increase to the gas tax. That bill never made it out of committee.
“I am more confident this year because we have both of the presiding officers on board at the outset,” said O’Malley.
But opponents say the plan weighs too heavily on drivers.
“We’ve got to find a balanced way of doing this and not continue going to the motorists, especially at a time like this,” said Delegate Susan Krebs.
Drivers we spoke with say they can’t handle higher gas prices.
“Cost of living keeps going up. Taxes keep going up. Gasoline keeps going up,” said Chris Sorrell.
“I don’t know what the answer is but it’s just too much for the working man,” said Cliff Taylor.
The governor’s plan was officially introduced Monday night in front of the General Assembly.
The governor’s proposal also calls for a working group to look for new ways to raise funds for transportation.
The new proposal would also make it more difficult for lawmakers to slate transportation money for anything but transportation projects.