Maryland to reduce tolls, eliminate monthly E-ZPass fees

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 5/8/2015

Hefty toll increases enacted in Maryland in 2011 have set truckers back a pretty penny, but there is at least some relief on the horizon. Gov. Larry Hogan announced a series of toll reductions that begin taking effect July 1.

For example, the current $51 “video toll rate” and the $36 cash rate for a five-axle truck on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge on U.S. 50/301 will drop to $36 and $24 respectively.

Hogan, elected in November 2014, ran on a campaign promise to lower toll rates. That appealed to commuters, who will see the two-axle rate of $6 on the Bay Bridge drop to $4, and the two-axle E-ZPass rate drop from $2.10 to $1.40.

“Forty consecutive tax, toll and fee hikes have taken an additional $10 billion more out of the pockets of struggling Maryland families and small businesses,” Hogan said during a press event on Thursday, May 7.

Hogan added that the “much hated” $1.50 monthly fee to maintain a Maryland E-ZPass account was being eliminated.

“Instituting those monthly fees was a mistake that caused tens of thousands of people to drop their Maryland E-ZPass or switch their accounts to other states, and it discouraged countless thousands of others from ever signing up for a Maryland E-ZPass,” Hogan said.

The state’s newest toll road, the Intercounty Connector, currently carries a toll ranging from 60 cents to $1.50 per mile for a five-axle truck, depending on time of day. Those tolls will decrease to a range of 42 cents to $1.32 per mile, again depending on time of day.

Tolls on the Hatem Bridge drop about one-third in price for commercial vehicles as well.

Statewide reductions for commercial vehicles don’t stop there. Frequent users with Maryland E-ZPass get an additional 5 percent discount, according to the governor’s website.

Another phase for multi-axle vehicles takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

“For vehicles using the Childs Street and I-695 turnaround exits at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and Key Bridge respectively, toll rates will decrease to $2 per axle for three-to-six-plus-axle vehicles,” according to a statement on the governor’s website. “For example, three-axle vehicles will see a toll reduction from $8 to $6 and four-axle vehicles from $12 to $8.”

How will the Maryland Transportation Authority cope with an estimated $54 million reduction in revenue?

“I have thoroughly reviewed the toll-reduction plan, and I’m confident the MDTA will continue to maintain its sound financial footing and commitment to safety and quality services,” MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said in a statement.

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