BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday signed a 30-day gas tax holiday into law, suspending the state's collection of $0.36 per gallon amid surging prices fueled, in part, by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
As of Friday, the average price for a gallon of gas in Maryland is $4.166, about 10 cents below the national average, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, whose office regulates the distribution of motor fuels in the state, said the holiday takes effect immediately and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 16.
He said pausing the tax would "provide immediate relief to Marylanders by putting up to $100 million back in their pockets."
Hogan was joined at a signing ceremony by House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City).
The governor said the measure would help Marylanders facing high gas prices and surging inflation.
"This bipartisan action will provide some relief from the pain at the pump, and it's possible because of the prudent fiscal steps we've all taken together, which resulted in a record budget surplus," he said.
Jones called the measure a "targeted response" to the ripple effect residents are feeling from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"This legislation won't just provide a little relief at the pump and help stabilize our economy, it also counters Vladimir Putin's escalation and holds him accountable for his reprehensible attack," she said.
Ferguson noted the upper chamber passed a $58.5 billion budget that includes $350 million in tax relief for seniors and working-class families, $7.9 billion for public education and cost-of-living increases for state workers.
"We're here because we are showing that Maryland leaders know that when there are problems that Marylanders are facing, we come together and we fix them," he said.
Both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed bills authorizing the tax holiday. Each chamber on Friday took a final vote on the other's bill to send legislation to Hogan.
The legislation, which had broad bipartisan support and has been in the works since last week, was fast-tracked in response to calls for action from Hogan, Franchot, Ferguson and Jones, among other officials.
The Transform Maryland Transportation Coalition sent a letter to Ferguson and Jones on Thursday asking them to oppose the tax holiday, arguing it would adversely impact transportation funding and stimulate more driving and a higher demand for gas.
Funds collected from the gas tax go to trust funds for transportation and the environment. The state will use a portion of its $7 billion surplus to cover the losses.
The group said the savings "would be pocketed at least in part by distributors and gas stations" and asserted a stipend for low-income Marylanders would be a more effective short-term solution.
"In the long term, Maryland needs to build greater resilience into our transportation system so we are less vulnerable to spikes in gas prices," the group said. "Maryland needs to make it easier for people and goods to get where they need to go without making the climate crisis worse."
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