The higher tolls for commercial vehicles would go into effect April 15. Also taking effect in April would be an increase of $5 to $10 in the cost of a vehicle identification sticker allowing a year of toll-free use of the Hatem Bridge across the Susquehanna.
The authority is also proposing to change the rules for commuter passes. As of July 1, motorists would have to complete 25 round trips or 50 one-way trips within a 45-day period, rather than the current 60 days, to qualify for reduced tolls.
Maryland is not alone in seeking more toll revenue. Porcari said several states in the region, including Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have recently raised tolls across the board. Sparks noted that several states and independent toll authorities in the region have begun charging for transponders and imposing monthly fees.
The board of the transportation authority is accepting public comments until Jan. 27 and plans a final vote Jan. 29.
Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Ronald L. Freeland, executive secretary, Maryland Transportation Authority, 2310 Broening Highway, Suite 150, Baltimore, Md. 21224.
ABOUT THE CHANGES
Proposed Maryland toll changes include:
* Increases of 33 percent to 80 percent in tolls for commercial or other heavy vehicles.
* A $1.50 monthly billing fee for E-ZPass customers and a $21 charge for new or replacement transponders.
* A $3 fee for using an E-ZPass lane without a working transponder and an increase in the toll violation fine from $15 to $25.
* Tightening eligibility rules for E-ZPass commuter plans to require a minimum number of trips to be taken within 45 days rather than 60 days.
Source: Maryland Transportation Authority