Pushback against Maryland tolls in full swing

| 6/10/2011

Opposition is mounting against a proposal to double and even triple the current toll rates in Maryland. Truckers, motor carriers, residents and now a U.S. congressman are stepping up against what they say is a job killer in the Old Line State.

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a member of the Republican majority on the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, blasted the Maryland Transportation Authority’s plan and took the opportunity to lob one at Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“I oppose the O’Malley toll hikes because they will destroy jobs and disproportionately hurt rural and suburban Maryland families,” Harris said in a statement. “The state of Maryland does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem.”

Under the plan floated June 2, the Maryland Transportation Authority wants to raise tolls for cars in October and follow it up by doubling toll rates for heavy trucks starting Jan. 1, 2012.

It doesn’t end there. By July 1, 2013, the current $15 toll for five-axle trucks on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, also known as the Bay Bridge, would be increased to $48. Same thing on the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge, and on down the list. Click here for the list of proposed truck tolls.

OOIDA and its members strongly oppose the hefty increases.

“Doubling and tripling tolls on that bridge will likely have a damning effect on farms, businesses and consumers residing in that part of the state,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said earlier this week.

The Maryland Motor Truck Association also opposes the increases.

“In the short term, many trucking companies (and particularly owner-operators) will be unable to absorb these increases,” MMTA President Louis Campion told Land Line by email.

“While commuters have not had their tolls raised in over 20 years in Maryland, this is the fourth increase since 2001 that truckers are facing. With each increase, we inevitably receive calls from member companies advising us that they simply cannot swallow another cost increase and are forced to close their doors.”

The Maryland Transportation Authority held its first public hearing on the proposal Thursday, June 9. Another eight hearings are scheduled this month. The public comment period is open through Aug. 1.

Visit mdta.maryland.gov to comment or write to MDTA Toll Comment, 2310 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD 21224.

See related stories:
Maryland’s double whammy for truck tolls
Maryland braces for toll increases
Maryland toll increases unfairly target truckers
Maryland increases tolls as truckers call for relief