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Governor Prepares To Push For Gas Tax Increase

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Sticker shock! Gas prices top $4 a gallon at some Maryland stations as the governor prepares his formal push to raise the gas tax.

Meghan McCorkell has more.

Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to testify in support of the gas tax increase Wednesday in Annapolis but rising prices here could derail any chance of it passing.

Punishing prices at the pump. It's $4.05 a gallon at a White Marsh Exxon.

"It really hurts. $4.05 and that's just for regular. I have to use mid-grade," said driver Tim Smith.

"It's killing us, man. We're trying to make it here working every day and you can't do it," said driver Mike Milligan.

The average cost for a gallon of gas in Maryland is 23 cents higher than it was just one month ago. Even with the record high gas prices, the governor continues his push to raise the gas tax. Governor O'Malley says the state needs the funding to build better roads and bridges.

"We have really not been able to embark on any new projects and basically that pattern will continue without a revenue increase," said Beverly Swaim-Staley, Maryland Transportation Secretary. 

AAA says now is not the time to hit drivers with an extra tax, especially since money from the transportation fund has been used over the years to balance the budget.

"We can't support a gas tax without either a constitutional amendment or very, very strong protections to prevent that from happening in the future," said AAA spokesperson Ragina Averella.

Senate President Mike Miller says it's unlikely the General Assembly will pass a gas tax hike this session. He suggests a special session later this year.

The governor is proposing a six percent increase over the next three years. Eventually, that could raise the price of gas by 20 cents.

The last time the gas tax was raised in Maryland was back in 1992.

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