Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

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

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Life-saving law Life-saving law

    Not many pieces of legislation to come out of Annapolis can be described as a matter of life or death. But the CPR law signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley is just that.
    Known as Brenna’s Law, the legislation requires that all Maryland high schoolers will be required to complete CPR training as part of the graduation requirement.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cat sanctuary could use help with veterinarian bill

    Dawn’s Cat Sanctuary, Fort Ashby, W.Va., recently rescued 11 cats and one kitten from a home in Keyser, W.Va.

    April 24, 2014

  • Street flowers Street flowers

    Walk along Frostburg’s Main Street in the spring and summer and one can’t miss the beautiful floral arrangements that adorn the lampposts.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • President and Obamacare: Who needs Congress?

    Being a fellow from a small town like Cumberland I don’t always really understand what’s going on in Washington. But I have watched a few houses being built over the years. I even helped some with one house, but my brother fired me from that work pretty quickly, mainly because it was his house being built.

    April 22, 2014

  • Sweet Success Business Forum this evening in Frostburg

    As a member of the Frostburg Business and Professional Association (FBPA), I am pleased to inform the community of the “Sweet Success” event sponsored by the city of Frostburg and our organization.

    April 22, 2014

  • First base First base

    The idea of spending up to $7,500 for a study about the possibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area should at least be allowed to reach first base.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • You can help United Way reach its goal

    The United Way of Allegany County campaign for 2013-14 will end April 30 and to date has raised more than $430,000, which is over 86 percent of its goal. But there is still $70,000 to be raised in a very short time.

    April 21, 2014

  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo