Streetsblog.net

Sen. Mikulski Supports Car Tax Breaks While Transit Languishes

This just in from the Streetsblog Network: Greater Greater Washington
takes Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski to task for supporting car
sales tax breaks — and asks how that money could be better spent:

3277332582_4064f30040.jpgSen.
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) touts tax breaks for car buyers at the 2009
Motor Trend International Auto Show in Baltimore. Photo by Voxefx via Flickr.

Maryland state lawmakers re-added a $10 million tax break for car purchases
at the final stage of their budget negotiations. Legislators had
previously decided to remove the credit to help shore up Maryland’s
finances until Senator Barbara Mikulski pushed to reinstate it.
Mikulski inserted a similar provision into the federal stimulus bill earlier this year.

What
could Maryland do with $10 million besides further incentivize people
to buy new cars that most of them don’t need? With just half that
money, they could restore transit cuts in the DC region. Those cuts
threaten to cut off vital service to many residents who don’t have
alternatives, or will drive many Marylanders to commute by car instead
of transit, increasing traffic, pollution and parking problems. DC and
most Virginia jurisdictions came up with extra money to stave off most
of their proposed cuts to Metro service, but Maryland remains $4.8
million behind. The other half of the $10 million could restore
previous cuts or improve service in Baltimore.

Instead of preserving this vital transportation choice,
Mikulski is intent on propping up an auto industry that has quite
simply overproduced cars for the current economy. Americans would do
just fine simply keeping their current cars a little longer. Meanwhile,
cutting transit service not only destroys jobs, but harms many
residents’ ability to get to their jobs. 

Elsewhere around the network, Austin on Two Wheels applauds the decision to locate the Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, California; The Political Environment laments spreading sprawl in Wisconsin; and CTA Tattler listens to "Voices of Transit."