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Senate president talks transportation options

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, has said since before the General Assembly began that a regional model for transportation funding could pass in the Senate with some Republican support.

Miller again mentioned that option on Wednesday, telling The Baltimore Sun that his office was drafting a bill that would raise the gasoline tax and create a regional authority capable of raising transportation money.

The first lawmakers to suggest the plan was Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore, who Miller credited last week with providing a “kernel” of a plan the legislature could work with.

Gov. Martin O’Malley did not include creation of a new transportation funding stream in his legislative agenda unveiled last week, but his office has maintained options are still being considered.

Miller also suggested to The Washington Post that the state lease the Inter County Connector in order to raise money for other transportation projects, though that idea was received less enthusiastically by O’Malley and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel.