Gas Tax Increase Could Soon Be Reality

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — We may be just days away from a statewide gas tax increase becoming a reality. The controversial transportation bill passed out of committee and it’s expected to sail through the Senate.

Meghan McCorkell explains how it could affect drivers and businesses alike.

The plan could have drivers paying nearly four cents more by this summer.

“Just brace for it, because there’s nothing we can do at all,” said Kevin Yoo.

Gas station owner Kevin Yoo says if the gas tax goes up, his business will take a hit and drivers will see prices like never before.

“The boards are going to be really high. They’re probably going to be like, I’ve been hearing all sorts of stuff, so maybe like in the mid $4 range. And that’s not going to be good,” Yoo said.

Analysts say if the tax increase passes Marylanders could pay 13-20 cents more a gallon by 2016.

“It’s like the cost of living is going up and our paychecks are getting smaller,” a driver said.

“I think it’s a shame. I’m tired of them wasting our money,” said another driver.

The governor says raising the price at the pump is necessary, as money quickly runs out of the state transportation fund.

“Inaction has a cost and inaction has a price. And every year that we fail to update that 1992 approach is another year that we slip further behind and our congestion gets worse,” said Governor O’Malley.

The governor’s plan could raise $4.4 billion over the next six years to fund stalled highway and mass transit projects.

“I do agree that our roads need some work but I don’t know if taxing us more is necessarily what we need,” a driver said.

“It would be nice to know that it’s being put in a lockbox and locked up for highway uses and not put into a fund where they can raid it later,” said another driver.

Lawmakers are now trying to pass a lockbox bill to keep the money in the transportation fund.

The full Senate could vote on the gas tax as early as Friday.

The lockbox bill to prevent diverting funds from transportation would need to go back in front of the House to pass.

More from Meghan McCorkell
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