Many business leaders also say the state must raise money for transportation, though polls suggest the public doesn't like the idea.
One of the main revenue generators for the Transportation Trust Fund, the state's gas tax, has lost much of its buying power since it was last raised in 1992. The erosion of transportation revenue has been accompanied by sharp increases in the cost of materials such as asphalt.
The result has been a backlog of billions of dollars in construction projects that can't get off the ground.
Last week, U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari met with House Democrats in Annapolis to deliver a stark message: States that fail to raise enough revenue to provide the matching funds for a range of projects — roads, transit, aviation and other purposes — will lose out on federal dollars.
Taxes and fees
Here are key provisions of the plan by top Maryland Democrats to raise gas taxes and transit fees:
•The cost of gas would go up 2 cents a gallon in July, another 7 cents in 2014 and possibly another 7 cents in 2015.
•Bus fares, now $1.60, would go up 10 cents in July and increase by another 10 cents every three years.
•If Congress allows, Maryland would forgo the second 7-cent increase on gas and instead tax purchases made on the Internet.