Rep. Andy Harris has voiced his concerns over a Maryland Transportation Authority proposal that would drastically increase tolls on many facilities, including the Bay Bridge, the Key Bridge and the Fort McHenry and the Harbor tunnels.
Harris, a Republican, whose district includes Middle River as well as the Eastern Shore, said the four-year, $210 million proposal unfairly targets residents in his district.
Under the state proposal, the cost to cross the Bay Bridge would double from $2.50 to $5 in October before increasing to $8 in 2013. In addition, the tolls for the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels would double to $4 a trip.
Harris made his point while addressing reporters during a news conference on Wednesday in Stevensville. Harris said the “$210 million tax hike” would hurt Maryland families, businesses and job creators as the nation is dealing with gasoline prices hovering around $4 a gallon.
“Maryland families and job creators, particularly on the Eastern Shore, cannot afford another tax hike by the big spenders in Annapolis,” said Harris in a statement. “Governor O’Malley’s administration does not have a revenue problem—they have a spending problem.”
On its website, the Maryland Transportation Authority stressed that toll increases are only being discussed at this time and that it is possible an official proposal could be made at their next meeting on June 2
A public comment period and series of public hearings would follow in June and July, and new toll rates could take effect this October. The MdTA stress that the additional revenue is needed to maintain the state’s aging facilities and deal with the state’s debt payments.