Record editorial laments the end of bridge stickers

October 04, 2012|Editorial from The Record

In the far corners of Maryland, cars from Harford County, especially eastern Harford County, as well as Cecil County (the western parts, notably) can be picked out in any crowded parking lot.

They're the ones that have the large grocery store-style bar code stickers affixed to their drivers' sides. In some cases, half a dozen or more stickers are visible; other folks are more judicious and placed new stickers over the old ones. The stickers made possible unlimited crossings of the Route 40 bridge over the Susquehanna River.

The mark that has so distinguished vehicles from rusted pickup trucks to fancy sports cars was destined to fade into oblivion starting this week. The last of the stickers expired Sunday night when Sept. 30 gave way to Oct. 1, and now one of the last holdouts in the E-Z Pass age has succumbed to this new kind of automatic toll device.

Unfortunately, E-Z Pass keeps track of each crossing and, while it may not be doing so now, in matter of time it will be charging for each trip across the Susquehanna.

This is an unfortunate development. A better public policy move may well have been to eliminate tolls on the Route 40 bridge, turn it into a two lane facility and install sidewalks so people could walk across it. After all, I-95 long ago became the main way for through traffic to get across the river.

It's unfortunate a perfectly good system that helped tie river-area communities together ended up being dismantled. Some call it progress.

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