Hogan Fulfills Pledge To Reduce Bay Bridge Toll By 33%

OCEAN CITY — On the cusp of another summer season in the resort, the hundreds of thousands of motorist accessing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to reach the shore will find the trip considerably cheaper.

Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday delivered on a campaign promise to roll back the state’s high toll rates and put money back into the pockets of Marylanders. The cuts apply to several toll roads, bridges and tunnels throughout the state, most notably the William Preston Lane Memorial Bridge, or Bay Bridge, which serves as a major conduit from the populous western shore to the Eastern Shore and Ocean City. The changes, approved by the Maryland Transit Authority on Thursday will, among other things, restore the toll for cash payers at the Bay Bridge from $6 to $4 and will lower the rate for EZ pass holders to the original $2.50.

“We are proud to announce what is by far the largest tax relief package to date and marks the first time tolls have been reduced in Maryland in nearly 50 years,” said Hogan on Thursday. “This tax cut will put more than a quarter billion back into the pockets of our beleaguered Maryland taxpayers and back into the economy.”

The rollback will reduce all cash, commuter and shoppers toll rates on the Bay Bridge from the current $6 to $4 and reduce the EZ Pass Maryland discount from the current 10 percent to 37 percent, essentially reducing the toll at the Bay Bridge for commuters from $5.40 per round trip to $2.50 per round trip, a figure that stood for decades. In addition, the rollbacks announced on Thursday will eliminate the EZ Pass monthly account fee of $1.50 for Maryland residents. The changes will be implemented on July 1.

The revenue collected through tolls at the Bay Bridge and other bridges, highways and tunnels in Maryland are used to maintain the infrastructure. MDTA officials on Thursday announced they were confident they could maintain the safety and conditions of the toll roads and bridges even with the substantial cuts in the toll rates.

“I have thoroughly reviewed the toll reduction plan and I’m confident the MDTA will continue to maintain its sound financial footing and commitment to safety and quality services,” said MDTA Chairman and Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn. Already, the toll reduction plan is being lauded by Eastern Shore lawmakers.

“I want to thank Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Transportation Secretary Rahn and the MDTA Board for their leadership on this issue,” said Senator Steve Hershey (R-36). “The 2011 toll increase has been a heavy burden on Eastern Shore families and business and the single biggest issue for Eastern Shore motorists.”