- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced his proposal late Tuesday night to phase in a 6-percent sales tax on gas.

Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, said the legislation will include protections making it harder for lawmakers to borrow transportation funds and use them for non-transportation purposes.

The governor unveiled long-awaited details of his bill, which would enact a 2-percent sales tax on wholesale gas purchases and tack on an additional 2 percentage points in each of the next two years. He said the bill would eventually generate $613 million a year for transportation infrastructure and create 7,500 jobs.

“If we don’t do this as a people, we will all be paying more in terms of traffic congestion,” he said. “This is one of those choices that responsible people make from time to time.”

The bill would require automatic repayment of funds taken from the Transportation Trust Fund — which funds road and transit projects — and would include a “braking mechanism” that would delay phasing of the tax if gas prices rise by more than 15 percent in a single year.

Some of funds from the tax increase would also go to local governments for road maintenance.