Your truck and trailer were just hit with the double whammy, beginning today, of higher fuel taxes and increased tolls. Do hope you fueled up yesterday! (Your publisher, alas, forgot.)
Today, July 1, 2013 marks the official launch of the “Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 “ which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Delegate Michael Busch. The act will increase the fuel taxes we pay.
And while the act does not specifically state what the new tax on fuel will ultimately be (instead, laying out a rather complex mathematical formula that are tied into evaluations of the consumer price index and average retail prices of fuel), the first phase of the multiyear plan, which begins today, raises the gas tax by 3.5¢ per gallon (from 23.5¢ to 27¢ per gallon). According to the Washington Post, “by mid-2016, motorists can expect to pay between 13 and 20 cents more per gallon than they do now.”
The act also contains language that would prohibit governors from raiding the Transportation Trust Fund in the future. However, they have raided it before, so we are not going to bet the ranch that they won’t do it again.
The act also details funding for bike lanes, watershed implementation plans, Maryland Emergency Medical System (and its communication systems), Shock Trauma, base salaries for pilots and technicians and field instructors, the Sen. William Amoss Fire, Rescue & Ambulance Fund, and other projects. Many of these are worthy services upon which our industry does depend. T’would be nice if they included dedicated an equal amount in trail funding as for bike lines.
Meanwhile, as if increasing the cost of fuel, we must also pay higher tolls. Crossing the Bay Bridge will now cast $6 for 2-axle, and $6 for each additional axle. That gulf between the Eastern Shore and the Western Shore just got bigger and deeper. Oh, and the press releases for the Maryland Department of Transportation tout the great E-Z pass discounts…two axel only. (OfficialMD2013TollChart)
So, as this news may be putting a crimp on your equine travel plans for the 4th of July, perhaps you can console yourself with the latest issue of The Equiery! With little Tommy Fenwick and Bonjour on the cover enjoying a plunge in the water on a hot summer day, perhaps we can all find more local ways to have fun with our horses. The July issue can help! As it is packed full of local trail information! Click here to find a distributor near you, or click here for our digital version!
More articles on the Maryland gas tax and toll increases: