Advocates: More Md. road funding needed to keep residents, jobs

WASHINGTON – “Raise the gas tax, hike up fees.”

Marylanders will hear a lot of that in the coming months as leaders attempt to relieve transportation woes.

But it’s not just an effort to relieve gridlock. Transportation leaders say a big reason is competitiveness with neighboring states.

“We look across the river at Virginia and we see that they have added express lanes to their Beltway and yet in Bethesda, at the split and in Silver Spring we sit, we go nowhere,” says Lon Anderson with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

And with worsening road conditions, there’s a fear that as jobs move to other states, commuter complaints will translate to commuter moving trucks.

“It is an impediment to our state, and to our county being competitive, being able to provide the quality of life we want for our citizens,” says Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner.

With a drained transportation fund, advocates for increased fees say Maryland will continue to watch other states grow as the economy shrinks.

“Maryland has to face up to the fact that the surrounding states are not waiting, especially Virginia and Delaware,” says Gus Bauman, who was appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to chair the Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding.

“If Maryland wants to have transportation and it wants to build its economy, you can’t do it without a few dollars.”

New taxes and fees will come up in the next General Assembly session.

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WTOP’s Andrew Mollenbeck contributed to this report. Follow @mollenbeckWTOP and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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