Get an EZ-pass, or get ready to dig out more dollar bills.As expected, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) approved two rounds of toll hikes for the state’s highways, bridges and tunnels. The first increase will be take effect on Tuesday, November 1 and will involve the following:
*Increases to the cash-paid toll rates for passenger cars, light trucks and motorcycles 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).
*Rates will change from $5 to $6 at the Kennedy Highway (the north end of I-95) and the Hatem Bridge; from $2.50 to $4 at the Bay Bridge, and from $3 to $4 at the Harry J. Nice Bridge
*Increases to the E-Z Pass 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.
Light-up signs are currently posted next to toll plazas, warning drivers of the impending increases.
According to MDTA’s website, the decision was made “after considering substantial public comments received earlier this summer.” During the 60-day public comment period extending from June 2-Aug. 1, the MDTA received close to 4,000 comments.
MDTA also held several public meetings to discuss infrastructure and the reason for proposing toll hikes.
Note: As previously stated, these are the first of the toll changes. Additional increases will take effect July 1, 2013, including a jump to $4 for a passenger car to use the Harbor or Fort McHenry tunnels, or the Key Bridge.
Information on all tolls and changes (including those for other types of vehicles) can be found at www.mdta.maryland.gov.
by Mary Helen Sprecher