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Md. Toll Increase Delay Expected

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Marylanders bracing for big toll hikes at the state’s toll plazas may get a little relief.  Thanks to the public outcry, the Maryland Transportation Authority is reconsidering those steep increases.

Kai Jackson has more.

Marylanders can claim a partial victory in getting the MdTA to review the proposed toll hikes.  Now the question is, what will replace the original plan.

The meetings were packed and the frustration had reached the boiling point.  Citizens gave the Maryland Transportation Authority an earful after plans to raise tolls across the state.  Apparently MdTA got the message.  The agency says it will delay the planned hikes.

It was a tough fight in a tight economy.

“I’m thrilled about that.  When I met with them last week, they said they were looking into those things,” said State Senator Nancy Jacobs.

Jacobs was among several lawmakers who opposed the hikes and were vocal about it.  She helped draft a list of items for the MdTA board to consider.  It included the size of the toll increases and commuter toll rates.

“Why should a car or a pickup truck with a trailer on the back of it pay the same price as an 18-wheeler,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs also fought plans to get rid of the Avi decal.  Harford and Cecil County residents use it to cross the Hatem Bridge.  The MdTA is now reviewing the decal issue and also the size of the E-ZPass Maryland discount.

“The proposal that I made was replace the AVI sticker with an E-ZPass, call it the Hatem E-ZPass, make it only for the Hatem Bridge,” Jacobs said.

The MdTA released a statement saying, “The board members will use the public’s feedback to help shape a final plan for approval later this summer.”

On the Bay Bridge, the MdTA proposed raising the toll from $2.50 to $8 by 2013.

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