Hogan Announces Toll Reductions in Maryland - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Hogan Announces Toll Reductions in Maryland

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP/WBOC)- Maryland drivers will save about $54 million a year from toll reductions for bridges, highways and tunnels approved Thursday, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said, but Democratic lawmakers criticized the administration for moving hastily with actions they say could delay replacement of a 73-year-old bridge.

Most of the reductions will take effect on July 1. The cash toll at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will drop from $6 to $4 for two-axle vehicles. The toll charged on a Maryland EZ-Pass for crossing the bridge will drop to $2.50, and the cost for drivers on a commuter plan will fall to $1.40.

"It's the reason why I was elected - to change the downward spiral and put Maryland on a new path," said Hogan, who campaigned against increases in taxes and tolls in recent years.

While the cash toll at the bay bridge will be lowered, the savings at other Maryland toll booths would be realized by using an EZ-Pass. Hogan also announced that a monthly $1.50 fee for holding an EZ-Pass will be eliminated.

The EZ-Pass discount will be increased from 10 percent to 25 percent - from $7.20 to $6 round trip - for the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels, the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway on Interstate 95. The Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge toll would drop from $5.40 to $4.50 rountrip.

Tolls for the Intercounty Connector would be reduced 3 cents a mile.

Pete Rahn, Maryland's transportation secretary, said the state found savings to afford the toll reductions through efficiencies. Rahn said any reductions in personnel will come through attrition and vacancies. He also said he was confident that the Maryland Transportation Authority will be able to operate within the remaining budget.

"I am very comfortable that the authority can do its job, maintain the facilities in a good condition and support this toll reduction," Rahn said.

But Sen. Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, wrote in a letter to Rahn that a vote by the Transportation Authority board on Thursday to reduce tolls could delay replacement of the Gov. Harry Nice Bridge in southern Maryland.

"While it may be politically expedient to reduce tolls, an unintended consequence could be to delay the replacement of a 73-year-old, functionally obsolete bridge," Middleton wrote. "Replacement is badly needed for safety and the economic vitality of Southern Maryland."

Hogan said the toll reductions won't affect replacing the bridge.

"It's currently in study, and it's not under construction, and this money won't affect that at all," Hogan said.

Senate President Thomas. V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert, said the reductions set the state backward in transportation needs.

"The nicest thing I can say about it, it's good politics, but very bad fiscal policy," Miller said.

For a detailed list of toll reductions statewide, visit mdta.maryland.gov


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