BALTIMORE — Motorists will pay higher tolls on Maryland bridges, tunnels and highways beginning Nov. 1 under the first statewide toll increase approved Thursday.
The nine-member board of the Maryland Transportation Authority voted unanimously to raise tolls on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from $2.50 to $4 and on the Gov. Harry Nice Memorial Bridge from $3 to $4. Tolls on both bridges will rise again in July 2013 to $6.
Beginning Nov. 1, motorists who use the new Intercounty Connector without an E-ZPass transponder will pay 150 percent of the base toll, which fluctuates depending on the time of day. The higher toll, which will amount to a minimum $1 and be charged via a notice in the mail, replaces the current $3 flat fee for not having a transponder.
State transportation officials said they needed to hike tolls to pay for repairs to aging bridges, tunnels and roads. The money also will help pay for construction of the $2.56 billion ICC, which is scheduled to be completed to its full 18.8 miles by early 2012, and express toll lanes on Interstate 95 near Baltimore.
Tolls on some facilities, such as the Bay Bridge, hadn’t increased since the 1970s, state officials said.
State officials said they expect the tolls to raise $90 million in the first full year they are in place and $225 million by 2014. The revenue will be used for debt service on new construction and for “system preservation.”
“I know it’s a very tough time and this is very hard for the public, but I can’t stress enough we had no choice but to raise tolls,” Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley said. “Commitments were made and bills were coming due.”
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