Meeting Held So Drivers Can Discuss Proposed Toll Hike

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The debate is heating up in Maryland over plans to raise tolls along our highways.

Kelly McPherson explains how some people are trying to stop it.

A proposal that would double Maryland tolls over the next two years is angering many drivers.

“The most important class—the working class—goes through those tolls every day.  I think we’re breaking the backbone of America by making these rates so outrageous,” said Mary Holland.

Marylanders are speaking up, hoping to influence the proposed rate increase at an MdTA public hearing.

“When we’re trying to create jobs in this state, anything that you do to raise the barrier and raise the cost of doing business is going to send jobs elsewhere,” said Mike Beczkowski.

Right now, the three Baltimore harbor crossings are $2 and would increase to $3 in the fall and then $4 in July 2013.  The Bay Bridge costs $2.50 to cross and would go up to $5 in October and then to $8 in July 2013.

“We have to rehab these facilities.  They are quite old.  The harbor crossings are 40 to 50 years old.  They require a great deal of maintenance on an ongoing level.  Much, of course, is under water, as well,” said Beverly Swaim-Staley, Maryland Transportation Secretary,

Qualifying commuters would continue to receive deep discounts of about 70 cents off the cash rate.

Many echoed the concern that raising the fees for tractor trailers would trickle down to consumers.

“What you heard them saying, $50, $48 for a tractor-trailer, that all comes down to the working man.  It increases the cost of food, it increases the cost of clothing,” said Brian Lutz.

The state is supposed to take these comments into consideration and make a decision in the next few months.

Anyone can submit input to the state on the toll hikes by clicking here.  The state is considering reaction until Aug. 1.

  • Frank

    First it’s the speed cameras, then the gas tax hikes, now it’s the toll hikes. When is it gonna stop. People are loosing houses because of job losses, and the economy is still down and the Mdta keeps finding a way to stick it to the citizens of Maryland. It’s got to stop.

    • the truth

      It stops when your dead.

  • JJ

    If you don’t like it MOVE! All of these meetings, folks their minds are made up! Its not going to change anything!

  • Wheres common sense when you need it

    The toll hikes are already approved and just waiting for all political correctness to happen. They don’t care what the people think, they just want the money to put into all of the social programs in Baltimore City. Wait and see, the tolls will go up, but the repairs won’t get done and they will find more excuses as to why. I am tired of constantly forking over money every day, every week, every year only to have money go for everything but the things the majority of people use everyday.

    • outkasts

      Your stupid for saying its going to social programs in baltimore.But you are on point with the rest?

      • Wheres common sense when you need it

        Sometimes the truth hurts.

  • the truth

    Let’s have a massive traffic jam to protest.

    • outkasts

      fridays at 95 & 895 split around 4pm -630pm.Millions went to Erlichs super 95 construction and the star of the hit show The Wire/gov. O-malley.That crook Ed Norris on the mourning show.Maryland elects bums………

  • outkasts

    Have a meeting to make them feel better about the things you can,t stop!Death & taxes….and ooh those corporate funeral homes that rob the dead!

  • rob

    more democratic tax hikes

  • the truth

    If the tolls haven’t been raised in years, why raise them now double, triple in some cases. It’s all B.S. folks & most of the monies collected will go to service the debt on other state programs. In California they have legislation in place where the trans. fund is just that & the money stays in the fund to be spent on roads & maintenance. The gas tax is higher there but there are no toll roads in Calif. period. We should demand a referendum that this take place here in Md. Just as the state by law has to balance the budget & they do it by stealing from funds, we should demand better transparency & a strict transportation fund only.

    • Dinger

      With Democrats in charge???!

    • candace

      You are absolutely incorrect. The MDTA is a self funded agency (all funds come from toll revenue as well as toll and roadway violations) and neither receives or contributes money to the general fund. In no way will the monies collected from tolls go toward an attempt to “balance the nudget”. The only road maintenance agency that receives monies from the general fund is State Highway Administration. Perhaps you should research the difference.

      • overtaxed

        I did research the difference, and guess what? The transportaiton fund recieves “user fees”, or in other words TOLLS. Then when the transportation fund is raided, toll money was raided as well.

        I posted this the last time you made such a ridiculous comment.

        If what you say is true, then WHERE DID ALL OF THE TOLL MONEY GO???

        Why the need to double and then triple the tolls???

        Another liberal with head in rear end.

      • the truth

        Candace, You work for the Toll facilities? They haven’t raised tolls in years? B.S. they raised the tunnels a few years ago & I-95 has steadily gone up….Let em eat cake & hold the line for another ten years.

      • wmpatmamd

        candace, you are so nieve. Both the Erlich and O’Malley administrations have raided state “self funded” regulatory boards’ coffers to cover state debts. I can not tell you whether or not the MDTA funds have been raided to cover state depts without research. But, if it had money in its coffers, you bet that the state legislature took some of it. And if it needed money, you can bet that funds were diverted to the MDTA. How do I know? The regulatory board I fall under has had its coffers raided multiple times under both administrations. So, state regulatory boards do not contribute to the general fund, until it is taken by the legislature!!!

  • antiqueguy

    My father is 70 years old and has lived in Md his whole life. He remembers when the tunnels opened and our state leaders(who were just as greedy back then) saying that the tolls would end when the tunnels were paid for. Well they must have cost BILLIONS since we are still paying for them.. WHAT A JOKE. Just remember our state moto If you can build it we can tax it. And for all of you out there that are going to tell me to move if I dont like it. I love Maryland, but it is not right what they are doing. And yes I am a Voter……

  • Marc

    No matter how much we complain about this, it is going to happen. The only way to make it count is to NOT RE-ELECT the people who propose and vote for these hikes. Once the politicians have to rejoin the public sector and pay the same fees we all do, that is when they will begin to realize they made a mistake. The people of Maryland need to take a stand once and for all and vote these people out of office. New blood is needed in the state today.

    • antiquesguy

      True but once they are back in the private sector Its too late. It is one big giant circle that will never end until our WHOLE government sturcture is taken down and rebuilt. And no I am not talking revoloution or over throwing any branch of government. It shoud be done peacefully and intelegently. Sorry for the spelling.

  • Laura

    This is just one of many reasons that I am looking to move out of Maryland. Though I grew up here, and it’s my home, I am sick to death of all the fees and taxes. I hand over more of my paycheck than I keep!

  • moholls

    Yes, their mind is probably already made up, but I’d rather risk a little of my time just in case it does make a difference, and if you feel strongly you should as well. There will be around 9 other meetings in maryland between now and july. You guys should go! tell them how you feel, even if it doesn’t stop the hikes, it will give face to the complaints that they can otherwise ignore.

  • susan

    You guys are right. They hold these meetings because the law tells them that they have to. You are also right that they have made up their small, feeble and greedy minds about the toll hikes. The meetings still allow you to speak your mind even though it is not going to work. The transportation authority and the rest of the state do a lousy job in keeping up with highway maintance. Maybe we should put them on the unemployment rolls and see how they feel about paying everything they have on so little because they want to keep raising everything and give us nothing. At this rate (pardon the choice of words) it will be cheaper to go around the toll roads because by then it will be the same price as a gallon of gas.

  • Mike K

    It’s a TAX not a FEE. Or does that line work against Republican candidates in vicious Election commercials? Martin OWE-Malley…in his debate against Bob Ehrlich said “I will not raise taxes”. HE LIED.

    • overtaxed

      And the liberal sheeple will promote him to his next post when the time comes, bet on that.

      Susan, public meetings in this state have always been a farce. This time, however, they are really going to prove the point because the farce is not against lesser groups, but the voting stock of the Democrats.

  • ad14jc

    Unknown message

  • JR

    Its no way that the prices need to jump 100 + percent, first of all the 95 tunnel shouldn’t cost as much since its not as old. How was it possible to maintain these structures for years with the amount of funds that were being collected then. I see some pay raises coming down the pipe for the top dogs in the MDTA. To justify these increases they should have to show the books over the past 15 years, this will show what came in and how it was spent. The next thing you know it will be the fear factor to justify taxes, fees or just take there money… Another stinky Rat and you don’t need a PhD to figure this out,,,

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