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Md. senator proposes to protect transportation funding

ANNAPOLIS — A state senator says he is working on a revenue package for Maryland’s badly depleted transportation trust fund.

Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, D-Montgomery, told business leaders Tuesday he also will propose a constitutional amendment that would prohibit tapping the fund to make up for budget shortfalls. The amendment would go before voters in November 2012.

Garagiola says he’s exploring how to raise “several hundred million dollars” in a proposal that could include an increase in the state’s gas tax.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has transferred $100 million from the fund to help balance his budget proposal, with $60 million going to the general fund and $40 million going to the state’s rainy day fund.