BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Electronic toll booths are a trend all around the country and it could happen in Maryland.

Andrea Fujii explains not everyone is happy with the possible change.

If the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) has its way, toll booths will be gone at some point. But it is far from a done deal yet.

Whether it’s stopping to pay cash or slowing down for an E-ZPass scan, there’s always a delay driving through toll booths. So the MdTA is studying what it’d take to get rid of them.

“There’s a customer convenience factor and it’s also environmentally a little more sensitive not to have cars stopped and idling at toll booths,” Harold Bartlett of the MdTA said.

The Intercounty Connector already uses all electronic tolls, and to convert the other seven would cost upwards of $180 million– money the MdTA says it doesn’t have… yet.

But the idea is already sparking concern from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that represents the nearly 200 toll booth workers.

“We’ve had no discussions, and that’s why we’re demanding that the state sit down with the employees to work through that,” Patrick Moran, director of AFSCME, said.

The changeover would mean no option to pay cash.

E-ZPass holders get 10 percent off. Those without it will be billed by mail at 1.5 times the base rate.

That leaves drivers with mixed feelings.

“I certainly think it would make it easier on the roads and eliminate some of the traffic,” one driver said.

“Everyone don’t have an E-ZPass,” said another. “Then if they go through the toll and you’re taking their license, that’s just like the flash cameras. Then you’re going to charge them another fee.”

The complete study will be done by the fall and there’s no set date on if or when the conversion would happen.

The MdTA says the state would eventually save money with the conversion but it would take a long time to cover the cost of implementation.

It expects the Francis Scott Key Bridge would be the likely first toll booth to go all electronic.

Comments (8)
  1. Running Out of Money says:

    This would be another good money making scam for the State. Force everyone to buy an easypass, then rip ’em off for $1.50 per month account maintenance fee. Oh yeah, don’t forget the alternative—-go through the toll area without an easypass and pay 50% more for the toll. It just never stops here in the land of pleasant living !

    1. Jonathan says:

      I think it’s $2.50 per month…

  2. yousefthe giant says:

    Bunch of Facist pricks.

  3. Debbie says:

    People out of jobs. More fees for the State and O’Malley and his cronies to spend and a general lack of concern for the citizens of MD. Why is anyone surprised? With O’Malley in office this is an everyday occurrence. Let’s see what we can get out of the pockets of MD citizens to push my agenda. . Speak up MD and let the nation know just how much the taxpaying people of MD resent O’Malley and his policies and why retiring taxpayers are fleeing the state.
    Just more money in the funds he can rob to make himself look good and then force the citizens to repay.

  4. matt says:

    At least in the Mchenry tunnel, the left bore on each side should be electronic and the right should be cash/EZpass. The backups on both sides are getting out of hand and something needs to be done about it. I also don’t want to lose too many jobs or charge more money if you use cash.

  5. MD Taxpayer, but hey who isn't? says:

    Do it like Deleware, the Main portion of the road is the electronic portion. People paying cash have to get off and wait in line for 1 of 2 or 3 toll boths. Eliminate the 1.50 maintenance fee for EZ pass. I feel bad for the toll collectors that will lose their jobs but as a Taxpayer it is an expense we can avoid.

  6. Dave R. says:

    My first question, what about all the guardsmen who are by law allowed to transit thru the tolls for official duty and not be charged, or the State Military Vehicles that use the military toll coupons? Official travel is for drills, training meetings, annual training? So how are we not going to be automatically charged. As it sits right now we go to the cashier and show our ID and identify the reason we are “traveling officially” and then are keyd in by them in the apropriate manner.

    And add to that by using Easypass you authorize MdTA to make all decisions about what is charged to your linked account.
    This is from the user agreement.

    “You hereby authorize E-ZPass Maryland to decide in the first instance every question or dispute arising from, under, in connection with or related to this Agreement, including, without limitation, the imposition of tolls, fees, or other charges incurred, applied or stated for the use or misuse of your transponder or Account. “

  7. ballsohardclub says:

    This is all George Bush’s fault & the Republicans.

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