Transportation Trust Fund
Transportation needs in Maryland are funded from an integrated account called the Transportation Trust Fund. The Transportation Trust Fund was created in 1971 to establish a dedicated fund to support the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). The use of this integrated trust fund approach allows Maryland tremendous flexibility to meet varying transportation service and infrastructure needs. The continuing commitment to these needs has provided Maryland with the excellent infrastructure system necessary to support the economic growth of the State.
All activities of the Department are supported by the Transportation Trust Fund, including debt service, maintenance, operations, administration, and capital projects. From the funds available for the capital programs, certain capital funds must be paid to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and paid as capital grants to local jurisdictions. Deductions from revenue are made for certain General Fund purposes, including environmental, fuel tax collection, and State police programs. Unexpended funds remaining in the Transportation Trust Fund at the close of the fiscal year are carried over and are not reverted to the State's General Fund.
All funds dedicated to the Department are deposited in the Transportation Trust Fund, and disbursements for all programs and projects are made from the Transportation Trust Fund. Revenues are not earmarked for specific programs. The allocation of funds to projects and programs is made in conjunction with state and local elected officials.
Sources of funds include motor fuel taxes, vehicle excise (titling) taxes, motor vehicle fees (registrations, licenses and other fees), and federal-aid. In addition, the Transportation Trust Fund also includes a portion of the State’s tax on corporate income, a portion of the State’s sales and use taxes on short-term vehicle rentals, operating revenues (e.g., transit fares, port fees, airport fees), and bond proceeds. Federal-aid projections are based on current appropriations and the match required to meet capital program cashflow needs. Bonds are issued to support the cashflows of projects in the capital program while maintaining debt coverage requirements.
The Transportation Trust Fund permits the State tremendous flexibility to meet the needs of a diverse transportation system. Although Maryland was one of the first states to have an integrated trust fund, it is a model copied by other states. By working closely with the rating agencies and maintaining financially prudent criteria regarding the Transportation Trust Fund, the Department has one of the highest credit ratings given to transportation agencies.
Updated January 2020