UPDATED: May 7, 2015 8:04 p.m.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a roll back on toll prices Thursday that he says will save drivers $54 million a year.
Hogan says lower tolls will go into effect throughout the state, “From the Bay Bridge and the Hatem Bridge, to the harbor crossings. From the Intercounty Connector to the new I-95 Express Toll Lanes.”
Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) May 07, 2015
Most of the reductions will begin on July 1.
On the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tolls will change from $6 to $4 for cash payments and $5.40 to $2.50 for EZ-Pass commuters.
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.
The Maryland Transportation Authority says the lower tolls won’t impact their operations.
“I am very confident we will be able to keep the public happy…as they use our facilities with the resources we have remaining,” state Transporation Secretary Pete 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.
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