WASHINGTON — Starting Wednesday, drivers will pay less to use Maryland’s toll roads.
The toll rates that Gov. Larry Hogan announced in May go into effect July 1, and Hogan said at the time that rolling back the tolls will save those who use the roads about $54 million a year.
Tolls at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge will drop from $6 to $4 for those paying with cash, and will shrink from $5.40 to $2.50 round-trip for E-ZPass users.
Tolls will also go down at the Baltimore Harbor and Ft. McHenry tunnels, along with the Francis Scott Key Bridge, Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge, John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway and the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge. Cash prices will remain the same, but the discount for Maryland E-ZPass users will increase from 10 percent to 25 percent.
Tolls at the Harry Nice Bridge will drop from $5.40 to $4.50 round-trip.
Tolls will also drop on the Intercounty Connector in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties by three cents per mile — during rush hours, that means a drop from 25 to 22 cents per mile. At other times, tolls will be 17 cents per mile. Overnight, drivers will pay seven cents per mile.
“This is the first time tolls have been lowered in Maryland in 50 years,” Hogan said in announcing the move in May. “Most importantly, we are allowing Maryland families and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned money, which helps our struggling economy.”
The $1.50 monthly maintenance fee for drivers with a Maryland E-ZPass will also expire.
“These fees were much hated,” Hogan said at the time. “Instituting those monthly fees was a mistake that cost tens of thousands of people to drop their E-ZPass, to switch their E-ZPass to other states, and it discouraged countless thousands of others from ever signing up for a Maryland E-ZPass.” Hogan claims 2 million drivers would benefit from the elimination of the fee.
Some criticized the move at the time. Maryland Transportation Authority board member Arthur Hock said in May that the Bay Bridge was already one of the cheapest bridges in the country, given the cost to maintain it. Board member Michael Whitson and Sen. Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, add that reducing tolls could delay replacement of the Harry Nice Bridge.
Middleton wrote in a letter to the state’s transportation secretary, “While it may be politically expedient to reduce tolls, an unintended consequence could be to delay the replacement of a 73-year-old, functionally obsolete bridge.”
Replacing the bridge is “currently in study, and it’s not under construction, and this money won’t affect that at all,” Hogan has said.
WTOP’s Ari Ashe and the Associated Press contributed to this report.