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Roads Drive the Economy




Written by: Megan B. Owings

Roads are critical to the economy. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to schools, the sick to hospitals, and providing emergency access and routes; roads are vital to the local, regional, and national economy.

 

Maryland, however, is currently facing a transportation funding deficit.  Since 2020, funding issues have been exacerbated by historic inflation impacting labor and materials costs, depleted COVID-19 relief funding, and the steadily increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs) (which make a significantly lower contribution to the Transportation Trust Fund compared to internal combustion engine vehicles). Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld acknowledged a $100 million deficit in the coming fiscal year. The gap over the next six years is expected to top $2.1 billion, with corresponding project and program reductions predicted across all MDOT departments.


Transportation funding is always on my mind, but at this moment in time, it is also on the minds of your representatives. The Maryland Commission on Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs (TRAIN Commission) was established by the Maryland legislature in 2023 to review, evaluate, and make recommendations on the prioritization and funding of transportation projects – it is critical that the people of Maryland voice to their representatives the importance of consistent investment in roads. The current administration is very focused on transit options for Marylanders, and they need to hear from you that roads are the linchpin to all transit modalities. Your representatives need to hear from you about the impacts of bad or inadequate roads on you. What does it mean to you t­o experience wear and tear on your vehicle due to bad roads? What would it mean to you if you could not drive to work? Living in rural Maryland, how does diverting funds from roads to other transit modes (such as mass transit not available throughout the state) benefit you?


As the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance comic illustrates below, fixing Maryland’s spending habits would be a good start in addressing our transportation funding.


Maryland’s 446th Legislative Session starts January 10. As a citizen of Maryland, you have the right to contact your legislators and influence the decisions that affect your life. Speak up!


1. Find Your Legislators

You can use the Maryland General Assembly website to find your representatives by entering your address or zip code. You can also use the Maryland Department of Legislative Services website to track legislation, contact your Senator and Delegates via email, and obtain copies of bills from past and current legislative sessions.

The same is true for your Delaware Representatives and legislation.


2. Contact Your Legislators

Once you have identified your legislators, you can contact them by email, phone, mail, and social media.

 



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