By Pat Warren

CECIL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)– The state has its hand in your pocket again, but doesn’t plan to dig as deeply. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is revising the size of its toll increases.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the numbers, and reaction from residents.

Cecil County businessman Steve McGee relies on customers who cross the Hatem Bridge to get their hair done at his salon. The news of a toll hike hit hard.

“Shocked, upset that it would hurt our business,” he said.

Irate residents accustomed to a $10 sticker program that gave them unlimited trips across the Hatem, protested. Karen Green, who uses it every day, thought the increase might kill her.

“It’s a lifeline for me because I am a dialysis patient,” Green said. “My kidneys failed, I am on a transplant list. Some days I’m incapable of driving myself, so friends, family, co-workers have offered to drive me. To cross this bridge, that would cost them.”

The original Hatem Bridge proposal charged drivers $36 a year as of Oct. 1, with another increase after that to $72.

The MDTA backed off drastically, with a new plan to charge drivers $10 in the first year and $20 in 2013.

It’s close to a recommendation made by State Senator Nancy Jacobs.

“Everybody up there at the toll authority, they all agree that what they were doing to Cecil County was too much of a burden,” Jacobs said.

Bay Bridge travelers will also fare better.

The original plan for the Bay Bridge was a hike from $2.50 to $5, and a $3 jump to $8 in 2013. The new plan is a $1.50 hike to $4, followed by a raise to $6 in 2013.

The final vote is next week.

Three- and four-axle vehicles will also see decreases from the original proposals. The MDTA’s new recommendations are based on a series of public hearings.

Comments (9)
  1. Shawn Theron says:

    what about commuter rates for the tunnels?

    1. Eric says:

      That’s what I would like to know. I use the 95 tunnel everyday. Are they planning to lower the amount they were going to raise that one? I understand that cost of repairs go up over the years but they are talking about raising it way too much.

      1. Ken says:

        They wanted an increase because the O’Malley administration raided the transportation budget and then the feds pulled their support leaving the budget in the red. The earlier stated increases were ridiculous and they knew there would be a public outcry. Now they are raising to the levels they wanted in the first place. Any way you look at it the tax and fee payers foot the burden.

      2. Jeff says:

        MdTA was called out at many of the public hearings; we the people knew they would “throw us a bone” by raising the tolls less drastically than initially proposed.

        How about instead of charging more, the Authority spend less. Do we really need 4 tow trucks on duty on the Bay Bridge overnight?

  2. Josh says:

    So the cecil county increase will peak at $62 over the current rate in 2013, they complain and they change it, meanwhile my commuter rate for the tunnel will increase from 40 cents to 1.60 per trip (and just like them “i use it everyday”) so it will increase $48 per month (based on 5 round trips per week) thats over $500 more per year and I get no decrease?

    what makes them better than us? I commute-they commute

    1. A Lennart Jönsson says:

      The Hatem Bridge toll is a minor source of relief for Cecil County — They are surrounded by THREE toll plazas just to cross their own border. THAT’S the difference — although I agree it sucks how you and everyone else are getting shafted by your hikes also.

  3. Bernard Mc Kernan says:

    When will the state learn that you can’t tax your way to prosperity. The people are suffering, Legislators need to cut spending & eliminate welfare social programs & other boodogoole projects instead of just tax & spend.

  4. A Lennart Jönsson says:

    You can drive all the way from Birmingham Alabama to Philadelphia and not hit a SINGLE TOLL… Until you hit Maryland, and then BAM MeHenry Tunnel and BAM the Susquehanna, and then BAM the state line at Delaware. WHAT the HELL Maryland??? The only place I’ve ever seen worse is switching highways on the brief hop between NJ/NY/Connecticut. Yikes!!! No one else beats up the money-earming commuter like MD. It’s like driving to work every day with a gun held to your head. I’m glad I don’t live there anymore!

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