MoCo Council President Urges Statewide Transportation Tax Hike | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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MoCo Council President Urges Statewide Transportation Tax Hike

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Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro says the Purple Line will benefit more than just D.C. suburbs, and that state leaders must come up with a better solution for funding.

The only bill in the Maryland General Assembly thus far dealing with raising money for transportation projects calls for regional authorities that allow counties that rely on mass transit to have higher tax rates on gasoline than the rest of the state. That money would go to pay for things like the Purple Line.

"It's too early to understand what the numbers will look like," says Navarro. "But we've been very busy calculating the threshold that we will need. The way the bill looks right now, it would not be sufficient."

Senate President Mike Miller believes the regional approach is the only thing that will pass in Annapolis, saying lawmakers from rural areas will never pass a statewide gas tax hike, because of their belief that nothing from it will benefit their districts.

Navarro says the regional approach won't raise enough money for the Purple Line, and urges the statewide solution.

"I understand the concerns of the rural jurisdictions," Navarro says. "But the bottom line is that Montgomery County is the economic engine of the state. So, if we benefit from this, so does the rest of the state, so will the rural areas. It's important that we acknowledge that."

Gov. Martin O'Malley has not offered his own plan this session, much to the chagrin of supporters like Navarro, who says the governor must be at the forefront of the issue for anything to be passed.

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