|Thursday, September 15, 2011 – Anne Kramer and Scott Wykoff|
|One week before a final vote is taken, the Maryland Transportation Authority heard about revised proposals for the toll increases at bridges and tunnels.
Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley tells WBAL Radio the proposal for the Bay Bridge now calls for an increase from $2.50 to $4 this fall. Then in 2013, the toll would jump to $6.
The orginial proposal was an increase from $2.50 to $5 and then a jump to $8 in 2013.
She says the proposed increases for commuters have also been tweaked somewhat.
Swaim-Staley says the ten percent discount for EZPass users will remain part of that proposal but the state will waive the monthly maintenance cost fee of $1.50 for frequent users.
For local commuters who use the Hatem Memorial Bridge would now have an EZpass transponder given to them for free. She says the rate for the Hatem user only would be the same rate. Swaim-Staley says they really want commuters to move from the sticker system to the EZPass because of safety concerns.
The public has had several opportunities to comment on the proposals that were first discussed in June. She says the public hearings were helpful to get an understanding of the concerns of the communities.
Transportation officials say the increased tolls are necessary to help pay for repairs at the facilities.
The Bay Bridge toll has not been increased since the 1970’s according to Swaim-Staley.
The Maryland Transportation Authority will take a formal vote next week on the proposals.
… Tweaked? Gee, is that like being hosed in a different way? …