Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, after much discussion with Democrats and Republicans, unveiled his six-part gas tax proposal on March 4 that, if passed, would become effective July 1. Maryland's 23.5-cent gas tax was last increased in 1992. The initial plan (PDF) includes:
On March 20 the House of Delegates "gave the bill its preliminary approval", writes The Sun's transportation beat reporter, Michael Dresser. In addition to thwarting Republican efforts to drop the indexing, earlier in the week significant changes were made according to WBAL News, including:
If approved on the House's final vote, expected March 22, the bill advances to the state Senate.
Dresser writes that in its current form, "[t]he plan would increase taxes on gas by 3.8 cents a gallon July 1 and [would] add increments in subsequent years. By 2016, motorists could be paying about 39.5 cents a gallon — 16 cents higher than now."
Some have compared Gov. O'Malley's original proposal to VA Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan, also composed of many parts, that would have eliminated the state gas tax entirely, replacing it with an increased general sales tax.
O'Malley's proposal retains the "user fee" approach while McDonnell's eliminated it, though in it's final form, a new 3.5 percent wholesale tax on motor fuels was added to replace the gasoline excise tax which was eliminated; the general sales tax increase was reduced, and $200 million of general fund money was diverted to transportation programs.
One ironic exception to the elimination of the "user fee" principle for transportation funding in Virginia: The bill "double(d) the annual $50 registration fee on electric vehicles and also appl[ies] it to hybrid cars and those that use alternative fuels," wrote Fredrick Kunkle of the Washington Post.
In contrast to both Maryland and Virginia, the Wyoming gas tax increase is straightforward: 10-cents per gallon on July 1.
Editor's Note: Maryland's House of Delegates voted to approve the increase by a margin of 78-56 on Friday.