Yesterday, the Chairman and eight (8) Members of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) approved their proposal to implement numerous measures in order to generate approximately $60 million in revenue. The approved measures increases toll rates for large trucks and other multi-axle vehicles and implements an additional administrative fee on all E-ZPass service charges.
The decision comes as the result of several reasons stated by Secretary Porcari, such as the operating costs for the E-ZPass system, the MDTA’s decreasing toll revenue from July to November 2008, and the deferral of $200 million in capital projects.
Delegate Jennings (R-7th District) commented on the MDTA’s decision, he stated, “With Maryland commuters already trying to adjust to the effects of the current economic downturn in this state, these new fee increase will only exacerbate these effects. Moreover, I am strongly concerned that such an increase on toll rates for large trucks and other multi-axle vehicles will drastically cause a negative impact on inter and intra-state commerce as well as creating a strenuous burden on the trucking industry and businesses, statewide.”
Delegate Jennings further stated, “The MDTA’s seemed to have a pre-disposition to approve the increases before they became official. Despite receiving and responding to 2,900 public comments, meeting with elected officials and affected groups, and listening to public testimony, the MDTA managed to consider all of that and render a decision shortly after yesterday’s public hearing.”
On January 21, 2009, Delegate Jennings submitted a letter to Secretary Porcari urging the MDTA to reconsider the charges proposed on commercial vehicles with three or more axles along with the E-Z Pass user fees for commuters in two-axle vehicles. He also strongly encouraged the MDTA to schedule public hearings in addition to the one set yesterday in order to provide assurance that all of the testimony shall be heard and reviewed before such implementation would come effective this spring.