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NEWS
By MATTHEW DOLAN and MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER | April 30, 2006
Gary A. Smith, who rose from a draftsman straight out of high school to become the head of the state's toll facilities on roads, bridges and tunnels, died Thursday doing one of the things he loved best -- taking a fishing trip with friends and family. An avid angler, Mr. Smith, 70, and his friends traveled to Grantsville in Western Maryland annually for years, spending a couple of days in late April to go fly-fishing. Friends called the civil engineer from Harford County a "fish-whisperer" for his uncanny ability to "read" waters, catching and releasing fish where others had been unsuccessful.
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2013
Come Monday, driving around Maryland will cost more - both at the gas pump and the toll plaza. Marylanders will see a 3.5 cent rise in the state's gas tax - the first such increase in two decades - as well as toll rates that jump as much as 50 percent. The changes that take effect July 1 concern some residents. Trucking company president Tom Huseman is measuring the impact of both increases in thousands of dollars. Joseph L. DiBlasio of Essex is adjusting his commute to avoid the higher toll at the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
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NEWS
November 17, 1993
A 29-year-old woman died yesterday morning after apparently jumping off the Bay Bridge at Annapolis, plunging 180 feet into the Chesapeake Bay, police said.Mary Alisha Mervine of Seaford, Del., was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, according to Thomas E. Freburger, a spokesman for the Maryland Toll Facilities police.The spokesman said that commuters reported seeing an abandoned Cadillac at the top of the span in the westbound lanes of U.S. 50 about 8:30 a.m. About the same time, a Department of Natural Resources employee reported having seen the woman jump.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 28, 2013
The Maryland Transportation Authority has thrown some cold water on the idea of leasing the Intercounty Connector as a relatively pain-free way of raising money to pay for other projects - saying such deals are too complex to enter into without extensive study. In a position paper sent to the legislature, the authority does not rule out privatization deals but warns “they are not easy and should be approached prudently.” The authority's statement comes in response to a bill from a Republican delegate that would require the state to issue an invitation for bids for the ICC and the Express Toll Lanes being built on Interstate 95 by the end of the year, but it also addresses one of the ideas raised by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller in a comprehensive transportation revenue bill.   Miller has proposed a study of the merits of entering into a long-term lease of the ICC to provide near-term funds for large transportation projects.
NEWS
By Jay Apperson and Jay Apperson,Staff Writer | August 26, 1992
Baltimore prosecutors say they cannot fulfill an agreement to return more than $3,000 seized from a Florida man in a drug arrest because a veteran Maryland Toll Facilities police officer stole the money and then killed himself.All of this confuses and frustrates Paul Kirsch, who was convicted on drug charges but maintains he knew nothing about the marijuana that police found in the luggage in his rented Lincoln Town Car. He says the cash, far from being drug money, was a loan from his mother.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,Staff writer | April 7, 1992
Natural Resources police dragged the waters around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge yesterday, searching for the body of a Glen Burnie man who is believed to have jumped from the eastbound span shortly after midnight.Rob Gould, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, identified the man as Robert P. Murphy, 27. He said the man left a suicide note in the cab of a pick-up truck that Toll Facilities police found parked near the middle of the bridge about 12:15 a.m.Tom Freeburger, Toll Facilities spokesman, confirmed that police had found a note inside the 1980 Chevrolet truck, but would not divulge its contents while the investigation was ongoing.
NEWS
By Robert Hilson Jr. and Robert Hilson Jr.,Evening Sun Staff | July 23, 1991
A 23-year-old Glen Burnie man who had allegedly threatened to kill his wife was arrested early today after leading police on a two-hour, 120-mile chase during which he rammed several police cars and nearly struck a Toll Facilities officer, police said.The chase, which at times reached speeds of 90 mph, involved 38 Anne Arundel County police cars, five State Police vehicles, three Toll Facilities cars and one helicopter.At one point during the chase on the Harbor Tunnel toll thruway, the suspect slowed his vehicle enough to hand a toll taker his fare before proceeding through the tunnel.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | December 14, 2000
Maryland motorists who want to save time will soon be able to use the state's electronic M-TAG system at even more places to pay tolls without stopping. The state Board of Public Works approved a $23.8 million contract yesterday to expand the electronic toll collection system now used by about 65,000 drivers. The contract with Lockheed Martin IMS will extend the system to the heavily traveled Chesapeake Bay Bridge and two other toll bridges in Maryland, according to state transportation officials.
NEWS
By Kris Antonelli and Kris Antonelli,Staff writer | September 1, 1991
An Annapolis woman was released from the Queen Anne's County Detention Center Friday morning after leading officers from three police agencies on a wild chase down U.S. 50 and over the Bay Bridge.Kristin Heather Ricketts Shay, 30, of the 200 block King George Street, wasreleased after posting a $1,000 bond.She was charged with drunken driving, hit and run and fleeing from police.The 30-minute car chase began about 9:40 a.m. on Richie Highway near Arnold Road. A man driving down Ritchie Highway called county police from his car phone and said he was following a woman in a Pontiac who appeared to be drunk.
NEWS
By Melody Simmons and Melody Simmons,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer William F. Zorzi Jr. contributed to this article | June 17, 1994
Two Carroll County teen-agers were seriously injured yesterday when the stolen sports car in which they were riding crashed on the Eastern Shore, ending a 45-mile chase that led across the Bay Bridge and along U.S. 301 at speeds sometimes topping 100 mph, police said.The car was going at least 90 mph when it crashed into a Toll Facilities police cruiser and a tree near Barclay, hitting with such force that it ripped one of the boy's seat belts, according to police.The driver, 17, and passenger, 16, were wearing seat belts and may have been spared fatal injuries because of them, police said.
NEWS
February 5, 2012
The governor's proposals to raise income taxes and charge sales tax on motor fuel have touched a raw nerve. The justification of jobs and public safety that was offered reeks of pandering to a scared populace. The only correlation that I see between jobs and public safety is the proliferation of police agencies over the last 20 years. Toll facilities, Transit, DNR, DOT, and the State Police all have a highly visible presence in the state, yet we need more. We have speed cameras that generate millions in income, but we need more.
NEWS
Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | November 21, 2011
As more people try to get an early jump on the holiday, Tuesday before Thanksgiving is becoming the new Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Tuesday isn't expected to be quite as busy as the nation's biggest travel day of the year, but if recent trends continue, it won't be far behind. At Maryland toll plazas, it's already soared past the Sunday after the holiday as the year's second busiest day. At airports, train stations and toll facilities, officials are expecting a surge in the number of travelers as Thanksgiving continues its inexorable transition from a holiday to a holi-week.
NEWS
Michael Dresser, THE BALTIMORE SUN | September 27, 2011
Harold M. Bartlett, a veteran transportation executive who retired as acting head of the Maryland Transportation Authority this year, will return as permanent executive secretary of the toll facilities agency, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Tuesday. Bartlett, 64, served as deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation in 2009-2010 after a 23-year career with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. He retired as deputy late last year but continued in the role of acting executive secretary until the first phase of the Inter-county Connector was opened in February.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2011
The Maryland Transportation Authority gave final approval Thursday to the largest package of toll increases in the state's history, which will double the cost of a round trip through the Baltimore harbor crossings to $8 by July 2013. In another move, the agency also decided to move forward with a Baltimore County interchange it had previously eliminated from its $1 billion project to add express toll lanes to Interstate 95 in the White Marsh area. Officials said the restoration of the interchange at Route 43 was not related to the toll increase.
NEWS
July 2, 2011
A mere 35 percent fare box recovery is mandated for the Baltimore bus and light rail systems and the Metro subway. Maryland's 5,000-plus miles of state highways recover nothing from users. Yet the Maryland Transportation Authority demands that users of the state's toll facilities pay 100 percent of their costs through tolls alone. We pay 23.5 cents on every gallon of gasoline pumped into our vehicles at Maryland gas stations. That contribution to Maryland's Transportation Trust Fund should be used to benefit users of Maryland's toll facilities equally with those who use the state's roads and rapid transit.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | June 12, 2011
Baltimoreans who are horrified at the prospect of paying more to cross wide bodies of water get their chance to whoop and holler tonight at Digital Harbor High School when the Maryland Transportation Authority holds its first public hearing in the region on a pending proposal for the most sweeping toll increases in Maryland's history. It's not a stretch to predict that opponents will outnumber defenders of the increases by about a zillion to one. The arguments will be impassioned, angry and probably even tearful — but ultimately irrelevant.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | September 22, 2011
The Maryland Transportation Authority gave final approval Thursday to the largest package of toll increases in the state's history, which will double the cost of a round trip through the Baltimore harbor crossings to $8 by July 2013. In another move, the agency also decided to move forward with a Baltimore County interchange it had previously eliminated from its $1 billion project to add express toll lanes to Interstate 95 in the White Marsh area. Officials said the restoration of the interchange at Route 43 was not related to the toll increase.
NEWS
By Thom Loverro | April 29, 1991
Nearly three hours before a paving company dump truck's apparent brake failure touched off a fatal 11-vehicle crash on the Harbor Tunnel Thruway, another truck owned by the same firm had to be towed out of the neighboring Fort McHenry Tunnel because of brake problems.The dump truck from Cunningham Paving Co. of Crownsville was towed from the Fort McHenry Tunnel about 1:40 p.m. Saturday because of locked brakes, Maryland Toll Facilities spokesman Thomas E. Freberger said yesterday.About 4:30 p.m., another Cunningham Paving truck -- filled with asphalt -- reportedly lost its brakes on the thruway, just north of the Harbor Tunnel.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | June 5, 2011
Baltimoreans who want to protest — or support — the Maryland Transportation Authority's recent proposal to raise rates dramatically at the state's toll facilities will get their first convenient opportunity June 13, when the agency will hold a public hearing at Digital Harbor High School. That hearing, at 1100 Covington St. in Federal Hill, will be the second of nine to be held around the state. The first hearing is set for Thursday in Gaithersburg, about an hour's drive from Baltimore in Montgomery County.
FEATURES
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | May 1, 2011
Last month's horrific crash that threw a 70-year-old retired sportswriter off the Bay Bridge and killed him underscores the fact that long bridges and tunnels are an especially dangerous place for drivers to be on less than their best behavior. The investigation into the April 18 crash in which a truck rear-ended a broken-down car isn't complete, so judgment will be suspended as to who was at fault. But if that crash was the result of a traffic infraction, it raises a question about why violations on the Bay Bridge and other toll bridges and in tunnels are treated like garden-variety offenses.
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