Toll hikes approved for two bridges in Maryland -- Gazette.Net







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Motorists in Maryland will see tolls increased on certain roads and bridges, beginning Nov. 1.

The Maryland Transportation Authority Board approved the new tolls Thursday after taking into account the nearly 4,000 comments received at public hearings across the state and from letters and e-mails, said Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, board chairwoman and Department of Transportation secretary.

“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,” Swaim-Staley said.

Tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will increase from $2.50 to $4 and on the Gov. Harry Nice Memorial Bridge from $3 to $4. The tolls on both bridges will go up again in July 2013 to $6.

The new tolls are lower than what the state proposed in June. The initial plan called for raising the toll on the Bay Bridge to $5 this year and $8 in 2013.

The state also will replace the $3 service charge added to those mailed a bill for using the Intercounty Connector without an EZ Pass transponder by charging them 150 percent of the toll. And, the state will do away with the monthly $1.50 service charge for the EZ Pass transponders if they are used at least three times the previous month.

Opponents of the Intercounty Connector blame the $2.56 billion, 18-mile road project for the toll increases across Maryland.

“All Maryland residents are paying for a wasteful highway that the Maryland Department of Transportation agrees will not relieve congestion on the Beltway, I-95, or I-270,” the Coalition for Smarter Growth said in an e-mailed statement.