“Sen. Nancy Jacobs said, at 9:40 a.m. Thursday, that the Maryland Transportation Authority had unanimously voted to approve a revised plan to raise tolls on the U.S. 40 Hatem Bridge.
She passed along the following details which will take place under the approved plan:
HOW WILL TOLLS WORK AT THE HATEM?
*The $10 Hatem Bridge Decal will be extended for one more year
*ALL DECALS EXPIRE September 30th, 2012
*Decals can still be purchased for full $10 price through August 31, 2012
*Decals will not be sold in toll lanes after Jan 31, 2012, just at Stop In Center
TWO EZ PASS PLANS AVAILABLE–beginning on February 1, 2012
Hatem EZ-PASS Plan A—“Hatem Use Only” Flat Fee of $10 (similar to decal)
*Only valid at the Hatem Bridge, fines given for violations at other facilities
*Two axle only, unlimited trips for one year
*Available February 1, 2012 $10, Price goes to $20 July 1, 2013
*Free transponder through January 31, 2013
*Buy on line (credit card) or in person at any Stop In Center
*No statements or administrative fees, no pre-paid deposit required
*Postcard sent 45 days before expiration and second note 15 days before expiration.
*Customer must renew, expires one year after purchase
Hatem EZ-PASS Plan B—“For all toll facilities” fees apply
*Available February 1, 2012 for $10, Price goes up to $20 July 1, 2013
*Two axle only, unlimited trips for one year
*Can be added to existing or new Maryland EZ PASS Plan (not other state plans)
*Plan is attached to one specific transponder, not all transponders on an account
*Subject to account fees if less than three trips made per month at any Md. Toll facility
*Pre-paid deposit required
*New transponder costs $9
*Notification sent 45 days prior to expiration
*Second note sent 15 days prior to expiration if no credit card on file
*If credit card on file it is automatically charged for yearly renewal
Multi-Axle Vehicles Including Trailers
*Three axles charged the price of two cars
*Four axles charged the price of three cars
*Five axles charged the price of six cars
See MdTA Website for Truck and Ticket Book information http://mdta.maryland.gov.
From the Maryland Transportation Authority:
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board today approved a revised tolling plan after considering substantial public comments received earlier this summer. The plan is projected to generate approximately $90 million in its first full year to pay significant debt for rehabilitating MDTA’s aging bridges, tunnels and highways and for constructing additional highway capacity in the Baltimore and Washington regions.
“During the last several weeks, the Board Members and I thoroughly reviewed with MDTA staff how we could revise the proposal based on the comments and suggestions from our citizens, customers and elected officials. Toll increases are needed, but I am pleased that we were able to make some adjustments to the plan, while securing the revenue needed to meet our fiscal and legal obligations,” said MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “These are tough decisions, but I can assure you that we listened. It was extremely beneficial for the Board Members and me to be in the communities during the 10 public hearings, listening to citizens who must cross some of our facilities more than once or twice a day. I thank everyone who shared
their comments on the proposal and helped shape the plan we approved today.”
The approved plan includes the following changes to the June 2 proposal based on public feedback:
• Adjusted cash tolls for the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301)and the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301);
• Adjusted tolls for three- and four-axle vehicles;
• A modified E-ZPass Maryland plan for the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) that keeps the cost for unlimited annual trips static at $10 until July 1, 2013, and provides a longer transition to phase out AVI decals and T-Series and A-Series tickets;
• Waiving the $1.50 monthly E-ZPass fee on accounts used to pay three or more tolls for the previous month at Maryland toll facilities;
• Increasing the commuter discount rate from the proposed 70% to 75% effective Nov. 1, 2011;
• Expanding the supplemental rebate program for vehicles with five or more axles;
• And maintaining a revised Shoppers Discount Program at the Bay Bridge.
In addition, the plan sets new Video Toll rates that are 150% above the cash/base rates – and not 125% as proposed – in place of the $3 Notice of Toll Due fee. For the Intercounty Connector (ICC), Video Toll rate ranges are 150% above the current rate ranges.
During the 60-day public comment period from June 2 – Aug. 1, the MDTA received close to 4,000 comments. Nearly 60% of comments came from communities near the
Hatem Bridge, John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) and Bay Bridge. The Hatem Bridge AVI Decal portion of the proposal received the most opposition.
“Operationally, it is time for us to transition from antiquated toll-collection methods and technology, including AVI decals and ticket programs. But we understand that this is a big change for communities using the Hatem Bridge,” said Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Randolph P. Brown, P.E. “We are planning an extended transition and outreach period to help customers make the switch to an E-ZPass Maryland Hatem Bridge Plan, offering free transponders for the first year of the program and keeping the cost at $10 annually until July 1, 2013, for unlimited bridge trips.”
The funds to finance, operate, preserve, maintain, improve and protect Maryland’s eight toll facilities come directly from the tolls that customers pay and not from the State’s Transportation Trust Fund or General Fund. The MDTA combines toll revenue from all facilities to pay operating costs and the debt on bonds that are issued to fund major projects. Revenue “pooling” makes the MDTA financially strong with top bond ratings to reduce borrowing costs.
The approved plan still allows Maryland to offer some of the most generous commuter discounts in the country and keeps overall toll rates comparable to those elsewhere in the region. It has been years, decades in some cases, since the MDTA raised many of its toll rates. Commuter toll rates were last raised in 1985 for Baltimore toll facilities and in 1983 for the Bay and Nice bridges. Toll rates for passenger vehicles were last raised in 2003 at the Baltimore toll facilities, the Kennedy Highway and the Hatem Bridge and in 2001 at the Nice Bridge. The Bay Bridge toll rate for passenger vehicles is lower now than when the original span opened in 1952, when drivers of passenger cars paid $2.80 round trip, plus $.25 per passenger. Toll rates for vehicles with three or more axles were last raised at all facilities in 2009.
The approved tolling plan and Public Comment Summary Final Report are available at www.mdta.maryland.gov.
Specifics of the plan effective Nov. 1, 2011:
• Create a new 10% discount off the cash/base rates at fixed-toll facilities (not the ICC) for E-ZPass Maryland customers driving two-axle vehicles (with a valid account and transponder that does not include a discount plan for that facility).
• Waive the $1.50 monthly E-ZPass fee on accounts used to pay three or more tolls for the previous month at Maryland toll facilities.
• Adjust cash/base toll rates for passenger cars, light trucks and motorcycles (two-axle vehicles) from $2 to $3 at the Fort McHenry (I-95, I-395) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) tunnels and the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695); from $5 to $6 at the Kennedy Highway and the Hatem Bridge; from $2.50 to $4 at the Bay Bridge; and from $3 to $4 at the Nice Bridge. Additional increases take effect July 1, 2013 (see attached notice).
• Adjust E-ZPass Maryland Discount Plan (commuter) rates from $.40 to $.75 at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; from $.80 to $1.50 (round trip) at the Kennedy Highway and Hatem Bridge; and from $.60 to $1 (round trip) at the Nice Bridge. The Bay Bridge commuter rate remains at $1 per round trip until July 1, 2013. These rates are 75% off the cash/base rates and change to a 65% discount July 1, 2013.
• Revise and maintain the Shoppers Discount Plan at the Bay Bridge with a 50% discount for 10 trips, good for 90 days Sunday through Thursday.
• Implement Video Toll Rates for vehicles traveling through a toll plaza without a valid E-ZPass or cash payment. The Video Rate replaces the existing $3 Notice of Toll Due fee and is 150% higher than the cash/base rate. There is a minimum video surcharge of $1 and a maximum of $15.
• Implement a Video Toll rate range for the ICC (attached separately and at www.mdta.maryland.gov). The video rate replaces the $3 Notice of Toll Due fee added to the toll per trip when drivers use the ICC without a valid E-ZPass. The Video Toll ranges are 150% higher than the mileage rate ranges approved in 2009. There is a minimum video surcharge of $1 and a maximum of $15.
Specifics of the proposal affecting Hatem Bridge users:
• Transition from the AVI Decal to E-ZPass MD Hatem Bridge programs by Sept. 30, 2012. The E-ZPass program will provide unlimited two-axle vehicle trips across the bridge at the current cost of $10 annually until July 1, 2013, when the price will increase to $20 per year. With a Hatem Bridge specific transponder, there are no monthly account fees or pre-paid tolls, and the transponder is free until Jan. 31, 2013.
• Phase out T-Series and A-Series tickets (see attached notice).
Specifics of the proposal effective Jan. 1, 2012:
• Adjust toll rates for vehicles with three and four axles and vehicles towing light trailers by reducing the multipliers used to set these rates for fixed-toll facilities. This results in no change to toll rates at some facilities and reduces current rates at others. Toll increases take effect July 1, 2013 (see attached notice).
• Adjust toll rates for vehicles with five or more axles, including a $6-$8 increase per trip depending on the number of axles at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; a $6-$7 increase per trip at the Kennedy Highway and Hatem Bridge; and a $9-$12 increase per trip at the Bay and Nice bridges. Additional increases take effect July 1, 2013 (see attached notice).
• Restructure post-usage discounts for E-ZPass Maryland business accounts based on usage at eligible MDTA toll facilities and limit discounts to vehicles with five or more axles.
• Restructure the supplemental rebate program for E-ZPass Maryland business accounts to include only vehicles with five or more axles and to expand the rebates to vehicles making 60 or more trips monthly at eligible MDTA facilities.
The Maryland Transportation Authority is an independent State agency that finances, owns and operates the State’s eight toll facilities. The MDTA’s eight Board
Members, appointed by the Governor with consent of the State Senate, serve as the agency’s policy-setting and governing body. Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation serves as Chairman.