GOP senator: Toll increases are 'highway robbery'
State Sen. E.J. Pipkin says the Maryland Transportation Authority's plan to hike tolls "delivers a one-two punch" to commuters and travelers who are already feeling the pinch from gas prices hovering around $4 per gallon.
In a release this morning, Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, said the toll increases "give the term 'highway robbery' a new meaning."
The fee for occasional travelers crossing the Bay Bridge, which has remained at $2.50 since 1975, would rise to $5 in October and to $8 in 2013. Commuters pay less.
Motorists who use the Baltimore Harbor crossings and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway also would pay more. Harbor tunnel tolls would rise from $2 now to $3 in October and $4 in 2013.
The four-year package of fee increases amounts to $210 million.
The Sun's Michael Dresser details the transportation authority's plan in an article this morning.
Republicans have also expressed fears that lawmakers will shepherd through an increase on the gasoline tax when they meet this fall for a special session on Congressional redistricting.
However, as much as lawmakers acknowledge a need to prop up the Transportation Trust Fund -- which is how the state maintains its roadways -- they also admit there might not be much of an appetite for a gas tax hike at a time when people are paying near-record amounts at the pump.