A complex plan to raise money for transportation projects in Maryland partially depends on the ability of the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would allow states to impose a sales tax on Internet purchases.
If Congress can pass the Marketplace Fairness Act before 2015, revenue generated from online sales originating in Maryland would go directly to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, eliminating the need to raise a proposed wholesale tax on gasoline from 4 percent to 6 percent.
When Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell proposed raising transportation money through Internet sales tax revenue earlier this year, some Maryland lawmakers scoffed at the plan. But U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said Monday that Congressional action on the issue is not only possible, but likely.
“There’s no argument on the other side that makes any sense,” said Cardin, a sponsor of the bill. “I think we can get it.”
He added, however, that the measure would need to be tied to broader tax legislation, or potentially a trade bill.
“If we can get a tax bill, I think we have a reasonable chance,” Cardin said.
With just three weeks left in this year’s regular session of the General Assembly, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Democratic leaders are still piecing together a coalition to vote for raising the gas tax and some transit fares.