As Maryland moves toward all-electronic toll billing and constituents complain about high fines that total thousands of dollars in some cases, two lawmakers are working to reduce the penalties for late video toll payments. Drivers who go through toll facilities without paying are sent a video toll invoice. If the video toll is not paid within 30 days, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) issues a citation with a $50 civil penalty.
The Maryland Transportation Authority is also in the process of contracting for a collections agency to go after out-of-state drivers, which is expected to be implemented sometime after the 3G transition. Earlier this year, the state said out-of-state drivers have racked up $102 million in unpaid video tolls and fines.
Now that Gov. Hogan announced a new customer service initiative on Thursday, a good place to start might be with E-ZPass toll system and making it easier to replace a dead transponder. Transponders are those little white boxes that transmit the information to the antenna that collect the toll automatically.
Some legislators want to give the General Assembly more control over bridge and tunnel toll increases. In this podcast, Duane Keenan talks to Sens. E.J. Pipkin, Bryan Simonaire and Del. Steve Hershey about their bills.
For the second hearing on the proposed fat toll hikes, a grand total of six people testified in Baltimore on Monday evening, wrapping up the meeting of the Maryland Transportation Authority in about 45 minutes. That was 20% more witnesses than the five people who testified at last week’s hearing in Shady Grove.
Large increases in tolls on Maryland’s bridges and tunnels were proposed last week, but Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley said angry motorists should not be directing their blame at the new Intercounty Connector. They should look around at the state’s other toll roads, bridges and tunnels, and see the maintenance that needs to be done on them.
Public hearings about toll increases on several of Maryland’s tolled roads and bridges will start in the next few months, Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley told a Senate budget subcommittee on Thursday.