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House Approves Transportation Bill, Senate Vote Coming

By Aaron Kraut

Friday - 3/22/2013, 3:15pm  ET

Maryland House of Delegates chamber in Annapolis, Flickr photo by wenzday01The Maryland House of Delegates today passed a transportation bill that would fund road maintenance and mass transit projects such as the Purple Line light rail with a hike of the state’s gas tax.

The vote passed 76-63 with some controversy, as GOP delegates argued House Speaker Michael Busch (D), who pledged his support for the bill with Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D), rushed the vote.

All House Republicans voted against the package and 23 of 24 Montgomery County delegates voted for it. The higher gas taxes that would result from the tax would mean drivers will face a roughly 4-cent increase per gallon in July and a 13- to 20-cent overall increase by July 2016.

The bill awaits approval from the State Senate.

Transit advocates and Montgomery County leaders targeted this year’s General Assembly, before the 2014 election cycle, to achieve a gas tax increase that would provide matching state funding for projects such as the Purple Line.

The state’s Purple Line project would run 16 miles from Bethesda to New Carrollton with stops in Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, College Park and other locations.

Flickr photo by wenzday01