In June the The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) formally proposed a plan to increase tolls for Maryland tunnels and bridges. Yesterday, MDTA announced that they had approved a revised tolling plan that incorporates public comments and feedback. The new plan is projected to generate $90 million in revenue within the first year, which will be used to pay debt for rehabilitating Maryland’s aging highway infrastructure and for constructing additional highway capacity in the Baltimore and Washington regions. MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley stated:
“During the last several weeks, the Board Members and I thoroughly reviewed with MDTA staff how we could revise the proposal based on the comments and suggestions from our citizens, customers and elected officials. Toll increases are needed, but I am pleased that we were able to make some adjustments to the plan, while securing the revenue needed to meet our fiscal and legal obligations. These are tough decisions, but I can assure you that we listened. It was extremely beneficial for the Board Members and me to be in the communities during the 10 public hearings, listening to citizens who must cross some of our facilities more than once or twice a day. I thank everyone who shared their comments on the proposal and helped shape the plan we approved today.”
The plan, which will be effective November 1 includes:
- Create a new 10% discount off the cash/base rates at fixed-toll facilities (not the ICC) for E-ZPass Maryland customers driving two-axle vehicles (with a valid account and transponder that does not include a discount plan for that facility).
- Waive the $1.50 monthly E-ZPass fee on accounts used to pay three or more tolls for the previous month at Maryland toll facilities.
- Adjust cash/base toll rates for passenger cars, light trucks and motorcycles (two-axle vehicles) from $2 to $3 at the Fort McHenry (I-95, I-395) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) tunnels and the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695); from $5 to $6 at the Kennedy Highway and the Hatem Bridge; from $2.50 to $4 at the Bay Bridge; and from $3 to $4 at the Nice Bridge. Additional increases take effect July 1, 2013
- Adjust E-ZPass Maryland Discount Plan (commuter) rates from $.40 to $.75 at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; from $.80 to $1.50 (round trip) at the Kennedy Highway and Hatem Bridge; and from $.60 to $1 (round trip) at the Nice Bridge. The Bay Bridge commuter rate remains at $1 per round trip until July 1, 2013. These rates are 75% off the cash/base rates and change to a 65% discount July 1, 2013.
- Revise and maintain the Shoppers Discount Plan at the Bay Bridge with a 50% discount for 10 trips, good for 90 days Sunday through Thursday.
- Implement Video Toll Rates for vehicles traveling through a toll plaza without a valid E-ZPass or cash payment. The Video Rate replaces the existing $3 Notice of Toll Due fee and is 150% of the cash/base rate. There is a minimum video surcharge of $1 and a maximum of $15.
- Implement a Video Toll rate range for the ICC. The video rate replaces the $3 Notice of Toll Due fee added to the toll per trip when drivers use the ICC without a valid E-ZPass. The Video Toll ranges are 150% of the mileage rate ranges approved in 2009. There is a minimum video surcharge of $1 and a maximum of $15.
To read the finalized plan and for additional information, please visit the Maryland Transportation Authority’s website.