O’Malley highlights transportation projects

Gov. Martin O'Malley outlined his transportation funding initiative Monday, and Tuesday he began tying his proposal to specific road, bridge and transit projects around the state. Throughout the day, administration officials revealed through email blasts -- every half hour, starting at noon -- and posts on the governor's blog "projects that could be impacted" in all 24 local jurisdictions. They also mounted posters showing schematics, renderings and photos of the projects between the galleries above the Senate and House of Delegates, in the hallway through which dignitaries will travel on their way to Wednesday's State of the State address. The projects include the Red Line in Baltimore City, development around the Martin State MARC station in Baltimore County, widening Route 32 in Carroll, a MARC line extension through Cecil and improvements to an intersection in Anne Arundel. The promise of funding for local projects will likely be key to winning votes for O'Malley's proposal. For the last two years, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said the support of local political leaders in vote-rich Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore City will be critical. “If you believe they’re going to vote for it and not expect to get projects, you still believe in Santa Claus,” the speaker told a Maryland Economic Development Association conference earlier this month. “That’s the way it works.” Senate President Mike Miller said Tuesday the sales tax on gasoline will be "a tough sell." The proposal would phase in over three years, adding about 6 cents to a gallon of gas a year, based on Tuesday's statewide average of $3.50.

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