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Miller likes O’Malley’s approach to Maryland transportation funding

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said Tuesday he thinks Gov. Martin O’Malley’s yet-to-be-revealed transportation proposal would raise enough money to spend on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

Miller wouldn’t disclose what the governor will propose, but has said that he and the chief executive have discussed the plan.

“We’ve talked about the numbers back and forth,” said Miller, D-Calvert and Prince George’s. “I’m going to meet with him at noon and I’m going to meet with him at four to discuss votes.”

Miller has expressed support in recent interviews for raising less new money for transportation than the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding recommended.

Miller has said the 15-cent gas tax hike proposal is “too much” and said a plan to raise $500 million more a year is more likely than one to raise $800 million.

Business leaders have also tempered their expectations for a transportation revenue package.

Miller also indicated O’Malley has backed off a trial balloon the governor lifted last week as the General Assembly reconvened.

“I’m glad he’s abandoned the sales tax,” the Senate president said.

Miller said the governor is likely to propose a flush tax increase and a shift of teacher pension costs to the counties.

“It’s not what I would like. It’s a compromise,” said Miller. “Compromise is not a dirty word in politics. The governor gives something to the counties, he takes something away. He makes the counties happy, he makes them sad. Not everyone can be happy in these very difficult times.”