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Maryland's Senate President Wants Gas Tax Hike

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 11:03 AM

(photo by Martin Di Caro)

(Matt Bush, Washington, D.C. - WAMU) Maryland Senate President Mike Miller wants to impose a sales tax on gasoline, as well as allow counties that rely on mass transit, like Montgomery and Prince George's, the ability to raise the state gas tax up to 5 cents per gallon in their areas.

It will take a lot of heavy lifting to get it passed in Annapolis, something the long-time president of the Senate knows as well as anyone.

One way Miller is looking to secure votes is by pushing something he himself does not like — a so-called "lockbox" on transportation funding. Critics have long argued that lawmakers end up spending money raised by transportation taxes on other things.

"I personally don't care for this proposal, but to ease the minds of those that think this is a piggyback for some future executive to rob from, I think this might alleviate their concerns," he says.

The biggest fight, however, will come from legislators who feel motorists will be paying higher taxes that will go to mass transit, as those lawmakers feel that more of that money should instead go toward roads.

Meanwhile, across the border, Virginia politicians are negotiating a transportation funding deal that would lower the gas tax and increase the sales tax.

Follow Matt Bush on Twitter.

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