Frederick Mayor Hopes To See Highway User Revenue Fully Restored

Mayor Michael O’Connor

It was severely reduced by the state during the Great Recession

Frederick, Md. (KM) – The 2022 Maryland General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Monday, April 11th at 12-midnight, and Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor is keeping up to date on what lawmakers are doing. He says the Maryland Municipal League is hoping legislators will restore the municipalities’ share of the state’s highway user revenues. That’s the portion of the state’s gas tax provided to local governments which is used for road maintenance projects.

“It was all cut in 2010 and 2011, about an 85% cut in that line item,” Mayor O’Connor says. “For the City of Frederick in a given year, that’s about a million dollars or more than we use for  street maintenance projects.”

The highway user revenue was cut by then-Governor Martin O’Malley to help balance the state’s budget which was being ravaged by the Great Recession. “It’s been brought back slowly over the last  five to eight years,” O’Connor says. “But it’s not back to the 100% when it was when it cut in the early 2010’s.”

The Mayor spoke on Tuesday during WFMD”s “Morning News Express.”

On another topic, Mayor O’Connor said the City of Frederick could be getting something from this year’s General Assembly. “Specifically for the city, the one item that we were pleased to see in the Governor’s budget and are hopeful it will make its way to the finished budget is some funding for the design the police headquarters building. There’s a quarter of a million dollars that’s in there. We will be looking in subsequent years perhaps for some construction funding requests as well,” he says.

Last year, the Board of Aldermen agreed to purchase the William Donald Schaefer Building in downtown Frederick as a new police headquarters. Mayor O’Connor says it’s the best location for the police department out of all of the other which were considered. “My preference is to have the police department located downtown. In time, if we need to branch out, from there, we will. The footprint of that government service should be in our core,:” he says.

By Kevin McManus