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Morning Read: Now It's Maryland's Turn to Pass a Transportation Funding Plan

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AM Read: Maryland's Turn to Pass a Transportation Plan

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (C), Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (L) and House Speaker Michael Busch (R), March 1, 2012

Virginia just passed its long-awaited transportation funding legislation and now it’s Maryland’s turn.

On Thursday, Gov. Martin O’Malley met with leaders of the Senate and House to try to reach an agreement on how to raise money for the state’s depleted transportation fund. It's estimated that they need to raise about $700 million per year.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has already introduced his plan and, according to the Baltimore Sun, has challenged O’Malley and the House speaker to make their own proposals.

Miller’s plan calls for a 3-percent sales tax of gasoline (it's currently exempt) and would give counties the power to raise the statewide 23.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax by as much as five cents. His proposal would also create two regional authorities in Baltimore and the D.C. suburbs that would have the power to raise property taxes.

Maryland House Democratic leaders have said they would introduce a plan of their own, and Gov. O’Malley said he is still undecided.

IN OTHER NEWS:

The Washington Examiner reported on a study Thursday that found that poorly maintained roads are costing Maryland drivers in the D.C. region an estimated $2,200 a year. This figure factors in the costs of gas while waiting in traffic and damages to vehicles incurred while driving on poor roads.

* Gov. McDonnell is taking a beating from some conservatives for compromising on the transportation deal. But McDonnell defended his plan Thursday by invoking President Ronald Reagan, saying that even Reagan pushed for an increase in the federal gas tax 30 years ago to address highway funding needs. (Roanoke Times)

* The Maryland Senate passed Gov. O’Malley’s proposed gun control package Thursday. If these laws are enacted, Maryland’s already strong weapon laws would be among the strictest in the nation. (News4)

* D.C. Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton said she will donate one day’s salary for each day that federal workers are forced to take unpaid leave because of sequestration cuts. (Dcist)

* Norton’s not the only one making public sacrifices. Maryland Del. Chris Van Hollen -- the ranking minority member in the House Budget Committee -- said that if any of his staffers are forced to take unpaid leave, he would join them, although that’s probably unconstitutional. (DCist)

* The U.S. Attorney’s office wants Kwame Brown’s brother, Che Brown, to serve six months in prison for committing bank fraud. The feds allege that Che Brown "made a series of unlawful cash campaign expenditures" during Kwame Brown's 2008 at-large re-election campaign. (Washington City Paper)

* The D.C. Council will vote next week to override Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of a package of reforms to the city’s certified business program because they were “unworkable” and “short of the mark.” (Washington Examiner)

* Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is still undecided on whether he will run for Virginia governor. He sent out an email to potential supporters Thursday saying that there is “a realistic opportunity in this campaign for a credible Independent candidate” and asked them for their advice and commitment of support if he decides to run. (Roanoke Times)

* Mayor Gray promised District police officers raises if an agreement is reached between city officials and the police union. (Washington Post)

* D.C. Councilmen Marion Barry and Tommy Wells pitch the idea of the 5-cent bag fee to the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (Washington Post)

* With a major donation to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli from an anti-abortion group, the abortion debate is already front and center in the Virginia gubernatorial race. (The Virginian-Pilot)

* Virginia’s two Democratic Senators weigh in on the sequester vote. (Roanoke Times

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