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Transportation board to hold hearings on proposals for lower tolls for motorcycles, some light vehicles

The Maryland Transportation Authority Board will be soliciting public comment on proposals to lower toll rates for motorcycles and light vehicles towing trailers.

In a news release Thursday, the board said it had approved a public comment period beginning Aug. 1 on a proposal to reduce tolls for motorcycles by 50 percent. Tolls would also be cut for “light” vehicles towing one- or two-axle trailers by 25 percent and 17 percent, respectively.

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The discount would take effect by September 2020 if approved, the board wrote.

In addition, the proposal would also include a 15 percent discount for Video Tolling customers — or people who go through tolls without an E-ZPass or paying in cash — who pay before their invoices are mailed. The change would take place by December 2020.

The state is also proposing a new “Pay By Plate” method that “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,” the board wrote. “Pay By Plate benefits infrequent toll customers as well as those who do not want to maintain a prepaid E-ZPass balance.”

The board wrote that it will solicit public comments through mdta.maryland.gov starting Aug. 1 and ending at 5 p.m. Oct. 3. People can also download a comment card to mail to the agency.

The agency will also hold nine public hearings beginning in September in Harford, Cecil, Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne’s, Prince George’s, Charles and Montgomery counties, as well as Baltimore City.

The proposal comes after Gov. Larry Hogan touted a plan Friday that he said would result in $5.6 million in annual savings for drivers.

At the time, he offered few details, but said it would result in $28 million in savings over five years, which was reflected in the agency’s release.

“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," the board wrote.

The Republican governor previously lowered toll rates in 2015 and launched an initiative in 2018 for free E-ZPass transponders.

A final report on the proposal will be submitted Oct. 31 for review, the board wrote, with a vote on a final recommendation scheduled for the board’s Nov. 21 meeting.

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