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A Necessary Evil? Gas Tax, Toll Rates Increase Monday

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland drivers will wake up to different costs on the road and at the pump.

Effective Monday, toll rates will increase and the gas tax will too.

Rochelle Ritchie has more what that means for your pockets, and why the change.

You could call the gas tax increase a necessary evil. The toll hike is part two of a 2011 decision by the Maryland Transportation Authority to raise costs.

Pain at the pump has been an uphill battle for most drivers. That will be worse come Monday.

“It’s much higher than we can afford,” a driver said.

Across the state, the gas tax will increase from 23 cents to 27 cents.

“They can expect to see at least four cents on the pumps. The additional taxes were 3.5 cents total.”

Just a few pennies that some say could have been avoided.

“If things were maintained better by our local state and federal governments, we probably wouldn’t need to. And we don’t have a choice,” said Kim Forsyth, drivers.

While some people are already fed up with the gas prices, some say a tax increase is necessary.

“I think it’s fine. A couple of extra pennies in exchange for much better roads and bridges is really a good way to spend our money,” said Saul Gilstein, driver.

The commute around the state won’t just cost more at the pump, but also at the tolls. A double whammy for truckers.

“It’s a domino effect,” said Phil Kramer, Maryland Messenger Service.

Come tomorrow, Phil Kramer’s truck drivers will be hit with a 50% increase at the tolls.

“The harbor crossings will increase on a cash basis from 3$ to $4 and the Bay Bridge increases, for example, from $4 to $6,” Bruce Gartner said, MTA.

Trucking companies say they are already being nickel and dimed and can’t afford much more, and will have to put some of the burden on consumers.

“Products will go up because transportation can’t absorb all these fees and taxes. And somebody else has to pay for it,” Kramer said.

The tax and toll hike will fund a number of projects, including a $100 million project on the Bay Bridge.

The Susquehanna River crossings on I-95 and U.S. 40 will jump from $6 to $8.

The gas tax is expected to reach 42 cents by 2016.

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