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O’Malley frustrated by lack of will to address transportation

WASHINGTON – Griping about gridlock is common in the Capital region, where commutes can last hours.

But Maryland lawmakers continue to struggle to offer a solution. And whether building more roads or expanding transit options, both require more revenue to refill the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund.

During a year-end review with reporters this week, Governor Martin O’Malley expressed frustration with state legislators’ unwillingness to boost the gas tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1992.

O’Malley has set a goal of doubling the number of transit users by 2020.

“The only way we’re going to be able to hit this goal is if we find the political will necessary to make the investments in the red line, the purple line and the other sorts of improvements,” O’Malley says of the Metrorail system.

His own plan to increase the sales tax by one penny and dedicate the increase to transportation projects went nowhere in the last General Assembly session.

O’Malley says that a one cent increase would have generated $720 million.

With a still fragile economic recovery, it’s not clear lawmakers will have the appetite to ask more of taxpayers.

The 2013 General Assembly session begins Jan. 9.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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