Cumberland Times-News

Letters

March 7, 2013

Must restore fair share of funds for locally-maintained roads

Across Maryland, local roadway crews are plowing snow to clear community roadways — part and parcel of the business of local government. Our citizens demand and deserve good, safe, and clear roads and bridges.

However, all too many of those local roads are covered with pock marks and potholes.

State support for local roads has nearly evaporated in recent years. Counties have no local transportation revenue options — so they look to the property tax, already weakened by a real estate decline.

Local roads are being left behind — and every storm event requiring local funds to plow and clear these essential roads makes the problem worse.

Maryland’s policy leaders are now focusing on transportation funding. If a new transportation investment is made, among the most important decisions is whether the plan should focus exclusively on major state highways and transit projects.

Motorists deserve better than that. Five out of every six road miles in the state are maintained by local governments — these are the roads our kids take to school, that get us to our jobs, and that get us home safely.

A plan that ignores this high priority is not a fair plan for Maryland citizens, who may be asked to pay more at the pump and expect their familiar roadways to be supported.

In Annapolis, there’s time to decide what the priorities are. Everyone now seems to believe that a transportation “lockbox” is essential — and the counties agree.

We agree particularly because the transportation funds that have been redirected to other purposes have been the local Highway User Revenues that used to support local roads and bridges.

That share of the gas tax got slashed in 2009 during the depths of the great recession — and was never scheduled to be repaid.

Counties recognized the unfortunate need for state budget-cutting during these toughest of times, but even today they still see only a nickel on the dollar of previous funding levels.

The momentum for the lockbox idea underlies the importance of local roads, and this “contract” with the motorists that they will benefit from their gas taxes.

If a new financing plan comes together, leaders in Annapolis need to bring a fair share of those funds back to Main Street.

Any plan without this is incomplete, and unfair to millions of Marylanders that count on quality county roadways.

 Richard M. Pollitt, president

Maryland Association of Counties

County executive, Wicomico County

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Letters
  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014

  • Military veterans have few friends in Washington, D.C.

    Our legislators in Washington must stop playing politics with our veterans, this is  especially true of Vietnam war veterans. Will the game playing carry over to our veterans of present day wars? Will they too become pawns? Veterans have few friends in Washington. Just like the Vietnam veterans, today’s veterans will face
    what we are up against, little to no support.

    April 13, 2014

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Group wants status quo on Sunday hunting

    Many Maryland residents have grown very concerned about two legislative bills that are arriving on the desk of Gov. Martin O’Malley after being approved by both the Senate and House chambers this session. With the governor’s possible signature of these bills into law, hunting would be allowed on certain state lands on Sundays — a day in the past reserved for rest and non-hunters to enjoy public lands.

    April 10, 2014

  • New policies will grow better streamside buffers

    Well-functioning forest buffers along streams are perhaps the most effective and least costly best management practice we have to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

    April 10, 2014

  • City has changed, but it’s still a great place

    Is it better to be positive or negative? I have been reading postings about Growing Up in Cumberland, other Facebook pages, and from many of my Facebook friends. Talk about food and many people have positive comments. I love Coney Island hot dogs as much as anyone and have some every time I am in Cumberland.

    April 9, 2014

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