Lawmakers have moral obligation to mend broken contract with taxpayers.

I did a double take reading your editorial that excused Maryland lawmakers for raiding $1 billion from the state's transportation trust fund to spend on other programs ("We all benefit from transit, and we should all pay for it" Mar 25). Let's explore the logic further.

Imagine your neighborhood bank loans an individual money to start a small business. That individual changes his mind and instead uses the money to remodel his home. With a straight face, he informs the bank he's not going to repay the first loan, but expects a second one because he's finally getting around to starting that business.

That sums up our ongoing debate in Annapolis over transportation funding. Commuters have been told the taxes and fees they pay on gas, tolls, vehicle registration and more were dedicated to transportation improvements. Turns out, they were not.

Now lawmakers are telling us with a straight face they won't repay everything they've taken and, to add insult to injury, we're going to have to pay 86 percent more in taxes for a tank of gas.

Lawmakers have a moral obligation to mend the contract they broke with taxpayers. They should also show commuters respect by exploring creative, non-tax ideas for transportation funding, such as leveraging private money to invest in our most pressing transportation projects.

Christopher B. Summers

The writer is president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
    Related Content
    • The transportation lockbox [Editorial]
      The transportation lockbox [Editorial]

      Our view: Vote 'yes' on Question 1 and lock down state transportation funding — but don't expect Annapolis to throw away the key

    • Put 'trust' back in Transportation Trust Fund [Letter]
      Put 'trust' back in Transportation Trust Fund [Letter]

      A proposed state constitutional amendment creating a firewall for the Transportation Trust Fund will be on the ballot this fall, and while the legislation is flawed, it deserves voter support. The legislation (Senate Bill 829 of 2013) received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

    • Highway funding needed — and concrete, too [Letter]
      Highway funding needed — and concrete, too [Letter]

      In regard to the commentary by Brian Dolan ("Get riled up over roadways," July 14), I am in a similar position to Mr. Dolan of the Maryland Asphalt Association, as I work for the Maryland Ready Mix Concrete Association. I, of course, disagree with Mr. Dolan's recent comments disparaging...

    • Concrete is not the problem [Letter]
      Concrete is not the problem [Letter]

      I've known Brian Dolan for nearly 25 years, back to a time when I was the concrete engineer and he was an assistant district engineer, both for the Maryland State Highway Administration. As old colleagues, I wasn't surprised to see his informative commentary on the state of our roads ("Get...

    • America is squandering a precious asset: its highways [Letter]
      America is squandering a precious asset: its highways [Letter]

      Brian Dolan's article, "Get riled up over roadways" (July 14), was extremely well written. Message received loud and clear. We need to be reminded of our crumbling infrastructure as we begin to accept it as the norm.

    • A temporary patch [Editorial]
      A temporary patch [Editorial]

      Our view: With the Highway Trust Fund within weeks of bankruptcy, Congress looks to kick the transportation can down the road