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June 2, 2011

Authority board passes toll hike proposal

The Maryland Transportation Authority board has approved a series of toll increases affecting all facilities except for the Intercounty Connector.

Passage of the proposal moves the plan a a series of nine public hearings across the state. It also triggers a 60-day public comment period. The first phase of the proposal would go into effect Oct. 1.

Under the proposal, the cost of a round-trip at the three Baltimore Harbord crossings would go from $4 to $6 round trip in October. (Tolls there are collected in each direction.)

Tolls on the John F. Kennedy Highway and the Hatem Bridge would go from $5 to $6 in October. Tolls on the Bay Bridge would go from $2.50 to $5 then. Tolls on the Nice Bridge, U.S. 301 in Southern Maryland, would go to $5.

A second phase taking effect in July 2013 would take round trip tolls to $8 at all of the facilities.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 10:59 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Maryland toll facilities


Wait isn't a fee a tax Martin????

Raising tolls may be necessary but raising them way too much is unacceptable!!!

We need to remember that the tolls have not been raised in YEARS! A good amount of work needs to be done.

Will Hatem Bridge decals purchased BEFORE the increase be honored for the usual 12 month period?

Let me understand, you decided to build the ICC and then you decided to make the ICC a toll road so you could support the cost of building it. You then realized that in order to pay yourself back you would need to have the toll so high that no one would drive on the road, so you raise all of the other toll roads in order to pay for the ICC.

Good job Government. Thanks for raising the toll on a road I use that is NOT the ICC.

If you voted for the MD dems then you got what you deserve.


this is what we get for not raising fees since the 70's. inflation adjusted the $2.50 that it was back in the 70's would equal about $7.75 today, so the toll isnt all that out of line historically.

Jason: the authority is non-partisan and O'Malley has no real control over the fees they come up with

Here's my public comment: This is ridiculous. I may have to do alternate routes out of spite.

What about tolls on the ICC? They should triple. All of the above tolls are due to geography (rivers, the Bay). The ICC as built to address pathetic suburban planning in Metro DC. Oh, that's where MOM's handlers and financial supporters live............

The only way this is acceptable is for MTA to completely overhaul the EZPass system. Drivers need to be able to purchase EZPass boxes (whatever they are called) much more easily and you should be able to purchase refill cards for them like you do with cell phones. Balances should never expire, or at the very least they should be much more into the future than they already are. Also, if they do away with the sticker at the Rt 40/Hatem bridge between Harford and Cecil counties, it will cost me an additional $200 per year minimum.

COMMENT: Then you must own a lot of cars. Under the new program the annual cost per vehicle would go from $10 to $36. If you have no E-ZPasses you would have to pay $21 per transponder, but those devices last for years. --MTD

Raising the tolls to $8 dollars?? Dont we pay enough in taxes... I mean "fees" as it is? Why do we have to raise them all to $8??

The reduction of the ICC's pay-by-mail fee is a mistake. It will reduce the incentive for occasional user's to get an EZ-Pass. The result will be a increase in uncollected tolls.

Personally, I have always believed that tolls are a poor way to tax, at whatever rate. The rationale for tolls has always been that they are a "use" tax, something that is paid by the user according to how much they use the service. However, transportation is so central and vital to all life and commerce that this is nonsensical because the true "users" of the system are not just the operators of the vehicles, but the businesses, the government, and, in fact, all people, who benefit by the work that gets done because people and goods move from place to place. Perhaps this proposed rate hike will be a good thing because it will draw this into clearer focus. I use the Bay Bridge on a regular basis and I know that the $2.50 toll is already high. To raise it within the next few years to $8.00 will be ridiculous. I have analyzed and discussed this issue for many years and come away again and again with the affirmation that I am correct: tolls are not a good way to tax. The costs for maintenance of these roads and bridges should come out of the general fund. Even the idea that the tolls would be ear-marked for maintenance of these roads and bridges has been shown to be fallacious as government after government diverts these funds when necessary anyway. Indeed, even the idea that the tolls bring in additional revenue isn't true because the cost of administering an additional tax (in the form of toll gates, toll websites, toll collection government personnel, etc.) is more than the cost would be of simply increasing other taxes. Since the cost of the tolls ultimately are paid by the businesses and taxpayers, the net tax receipts are actually lower using tolls than if the general taxes were increased and no tolls collected at all. Only a simpleton would conclude that tolls are a 'use' tax. The roads and bridges serve us all every day, whether we ourselves drive on them that day or ever.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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