Business, Politics, Traffic

MDTA Board approves public comment period for new toll payment options

BALTIMORE, MD – With a toll modernization system coming online next year, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board on Thursday voted to seek public comment and hold hearings on a package of toll payment options that would provide cost savings for motorists.

Last week, Governor Larry Hogan outlined how this toll relief package would save Marylanders more than $28 million over five years.

The public comment period begins Aug. 1 for the new tolling options proposed during the MDTA Board’s monthly meeting. These proposals include:

  • Pay By Plate. This new payment method allows tolls to be automatically billed to credit cards at the same rate that cash customers pay today. For the all-electronic Intercounty Connector/MD 200 and I-95 Express Toll Lanes, customers who use this method will pay 20 percent less than the Video Toll rate. Pay By Plate benefits infrequent toll customers as well as those who do not want to maintain a prepaid E-ZPassbalance. This option would be available by June 2020.
  • New vehicle classes with lower rates. Toll rates would be reduced 50 percent for motorcycles, and would be cut 25 and 17 percent, respectively, for “light” vehicles towing one- and two-axle trailers, such as those used for watercraft or landscaping equipment. These new categories would take effect by September 2020.
  • Discount for Early Payment of Video Tolls. A 15 percent discount for Video Tolling customers who pay the toll before their invoices are mailed would take effect by December 2020. Since MDTA won’t have to send out a bill, the agency can pass these savings on to the customer.

Beginning Aug. 1, customers can visit mdta.maryland.gov to submit comments online regarding the new toll payment proposals, or can download a comment card to be mailed. In September, a series of nine public hearings will take place in Harford, Cecil, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, Charles and Montgomery counties and in Baltimore City. Dates, times and locations will be advertised online and in local media.

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The public comment period will close at 5 p.m. Oct. 3. A Toll Hearing Final Report will be submitted Oct. 31 for review by the MDTA Board and will be posted at mdta.maryland.gov for additional public comment. The Board is scheduled to vote on a final recommendation at its Nov. 21 meeting.

The new package of $28 million in savings would be the third round of toll relief during the Hogan Administration, resulting in total savings to customers of up to $344 million. Previous measures included a 2015 toll rollback to save Marylanders $270 million by 2020, and a 2018 initiative for free E-ZPass transponders designed to save drivers $46 million over five years.

For the full list of proposed changes, click here.

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