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Md. Considering Major Toll Hikes

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland officials are considering major toll hikes as a way to fund transportation. 

The Maryland Transportation Authority is already planning to increase tolls in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Tolls could jump 27 percent in the first round of hikes. 

But a Department of Legislative Services report suggests that the authority also look into new ways to raise money. It needs the funds to maintain aging roads and pay the rising costs of debt service. 

One suggestion is to make more tolls all electronic, like those on the new Intercounty Connector. The move would ease traffic and allow the agency to raise rates more often. 

The state could also give discounts to drivers with E-ZPass transponders issued in Maryland, while charging the full rate to those with out-of-state E-ZPass accounts. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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