Drives against gas taxes start running on empty

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Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O’Malley, said he is in the early stages of crafting an agenda for next year’s assembly but that a gas tax “is not something that’s come under heavy discussion.”

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, last year proposed an unsuccessful bill that would have added a 6 percent sales tax on gas at the wholesale level.

Maryland budget analysts have suggested alternatives such as public-private partnerships and special taxing districts, while the Montgomery County Council has expressed interest in seeking permission from state lawmakers to raise the gas tax within its county.

Mr. Townsend said that increasing the gas tax is one of the most effective ways for a state to generate transportation revenue, but that he isn’t anticipating it to happen anytime soon with year-to-year gas prices on the rise.

“We wish people would have the political courage to do it, but they haven’t shown it in two decades,” he said. “And if it was radioactive last year and nobody was willing to do it in the United States, it’s going to be even more radioactive this time around.”

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