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Gas Tax, Toll Hike Go Into Effect Just In Time For 4th Of July Travel

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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland drivers will be paying more to travel this upcoming holiday weekend.

Monique Griego has more on the gas tax and other fees taking effect next Monday.

In addition to the gas tax, Fourth of July drivers will also be forking out more for Maryland tolls.

Maryland drivers hitting the road Fourth of July weekend will be paying more at the pump to do so.

“It sucks. It’s already too expensive,” said Dennis Lynch, driver.

Starting July 1, the state’s first gas tax hike in 20 years goes into effect. It will add an additional four cents to every gallon.

“Because gas prices have been trending downward it may not be immediately apparent to motorist that they’re paying higher gas prices,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

But this jump is only the first of several.

The gas tax goes up another eight cents in 2015 and eight cents more in 2016. By 2018, Marylanders could be paying about 45 cents a gallon in taxes.

“Unfortunately, we’re so dependent on cars that we’re going to continue to drive,” said Kevin Jason, driver.

But gas isn’t the only thing going up.

On Monday, phase two of the toll hike also takes effect.

“Tolls are ridiculous,” Lynch said.

Here’s a breakdown:

Tolls for tunnels and the Key Bridge increase from $3 to $4. Cash for the commuter rate goes from $.75 to $1.40. The cost to cross the Bay Bridge jumps from $4 to $6, with the E-ZPass commuter rate going from $1.00 to $2.10. And on I-95 Kennedy Highway and the Hatem Bridge, the toll goes from $6 to $8.

Higher tolls are there to help cover construction and maintenance on bridges and tunnels.

“Some of the bridges are horrible. We’re afraid to go over,” a woman said.

While Governor O’Malley says the gas tax will refuel the state’s transportation fund and help pay for billions in future projects.

Despite the increases, nearly 800,000 Maryland drivers are expected to hit the road for Fourth of July.

While gas prices have been lowering for a few weeks, they’re still about 15 cents higher than this time last year.

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