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""Phase 1 South Toll Rate Range Setting Process""

Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370

Toll Rate Range Setting Process and Recommended Action

The MDTA is involved in selecting the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 Section Developer and has many responsibilities, including establishing the minimum and maximum toll rate ranges and setting the soft rate caps, maintaining tolling customer accounts and interactions, transferring toll revenue to the Phase 1 South Section Developer, issuing bonds, utilizing updated Customer Service Center and back-office systems, establishing operating reserves and administering toll collection.

On May 20, 2021, the MDTA staff presented the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 tolling proposal to the MDTA Board via a livestreamed meeting open to the public.  At this meeting, the MDTA Board voted to seek public comment on the tolling proposal for Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 (including minimum and maximum toll rate ranges and the soft rate cap within, the escalation process, and discounts). All public hearing materials were made available for public review and comment in a Virtual Information Room on May 20.  Public hearing materials, including the original tolling proposal, have been archived and may be accessed by visiting the Public Hearing Virtual Information Room Archive.  Information and studies used in the development of the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I‑370 tolling proposal were also posted to the webpage on May 20. *NOTE: The Public Hearing Virtual Information Room Archive reflects MDTA staff’s May 20 proposal. The minimum toll rate range (specifically as shown on Board 25 of 35) was lowered in MDTA staff’s September 30 Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) based on feedback received from the first public comment period.  

On June 4, 2021, the MDTA announced public hearings for the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 tolling proposal. The MDTA held an in-person testimony hearing on Monday, July 12, and a call-in testimony hearing on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. An option to provide either one-on-one or public testimony was given at the in-person hearing. Registration was required to provide testimony at the in-person or call-in public hearings.  A quorum of the MDTA Board Members (a minimum of five MDTA Board Members) and the MDTA Chairman or his designee were present for both in-person and call-in testimony public hearings.  The MDTA continued to accept voicemail testimony, as well as online and written comments, from the public until 5:00 PM on August 12, 2021 for inclusion in the official record.  May 20, 2021 through August 12, 2021 served as the first of three public comment periods included in the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 toll rate range setting process.  On August 26, 2021, the MDTA staff presented a summary and analysis of comments received during the first public comment period to the MDTA Board via a livestreamed meeting open to the public.  The comment summary and analysis, and raw comment database, were also posted to the MDTA webpage on August 26.

On September 30, 2021, the MDTA staff presented the Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) for Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 to the MDTA Board via a livestreamed meeting open to the public, and received approval to seek public comment on the recommendation.  This approval vote initiated the second public comment period, which spans from September 30, 2021 through 5:00 PM on October 28, 2021. September 30, 2021, through October 28, 2021, serves as the second of three public comment periods included in the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 toll rate range setting process.

In November, MDTA staff will post a summary and analysis of comments received during the second public comment period to MDTA’s web site. The summary also will be presented during a livestreamed MDTA Board meeting that will be open to the public. At this meeting, MDTA staff will present the final toll rate range recommendation to the Board. The Board will accept any additional public comment during the meeting prior to voting whether to approve the toll rate ranges. Information will be provided in future announcements regarding the date of the November 2021 MDTA Board meeting and on how to register to comment on the final recommended action (final toll rate ranges) during the MDTA Board Meeting.    

The public is welcome to watch all MDTA Board Meetings via livestream or attend in-person.  

Pre-registration is required to comment on the recommended action (recommended toll rate ranges) during the November 2021 MDTA Board Meeting. Unless otherwise indicated on the MDTA Board Meeting Schedule webpage, meetings begin at 9 a.m. but may include a closed session that is not open to the public. Please call 410-537-1000 for information about a particular MDTA Board Meeting's public-meeting time and for directions to the meeting's location. Anyone interested in speaking at the Board Meeting is asked to sign-up at least two business days prior to the scheduled meeting. Please contact the Special Assistant at 410-537-1002 to sign-up to speak. The following information will be needed: your name, contact number, and the item(s) on the agenda you would like to speak about. Public comments will be limited to two minutes per person. The MDTA Board will not entertain comments of personnel matters, matters in litigation, or similar matters. All persons attending MDTA Board meetings are asked to refrain from any conduct that is disruptive to the meeting. Any person that persists with disruptive conduct after being asked to refrain will be asked to leave the meeting. 

Anyone planning to attend an MDTA Board Meeting who wishes to receive auxiliary aids, services, or accommodations is invited to contact 711 (MD Relay) at least 48 hours in advance.

If you are unable to access materials posted online, or if you require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or require language translation services (free of charge), please contact the MDTA’s Title VI Officer at mdtaeeo@mdta.maryland.gov or at 410-537-6720.

 

Recommended Action (Recommended Toll Rate Ranges)

The table below provides the Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) in cost per mile ($/mile) for all vehicle and payment types associated with use of future High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes within Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370.  Note the toll rate ranges below constitute the Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) presented to the MDTA Board at the September 30, 2021 Board Meeting. This Recommended Action reflects a lowering of the minimum toll rate range based on feedback received during the first public comment period (May 20, 2021 through August 12, 2021).  The MDTA is now seeking public comment on the recommended toll rate ranges shown below starting September 30, 2021 and ending at 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 28, 2021.

As a result of comments received during the first public-comment period from May 20 – August 14, 2021, the recommended toll rate ranges reflect a new base minimum per-mile toll rate of 17 cents/mile, which is lower than the 20 cents/mile proposed in May. The 17 cents/mile is consistent with the base off-peak minimum per-mile toll rate for the MDTA’s Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200.

The vehicle classifications, payment methods and associated multipliers are consistent with existing MDTA facilities. For example, the 3-axle light multiplier is 1.5x the 2-axle rate for the same payment type and the multiplier between Video Tolling (unregistered video) and electronic toll collection (ETC) for the same vehicle classification is 1.5x.  Tolls will be collected electronically at highway speeds, using overhead gantries, with no toll plazas or toll booths (cashless tolling).  Overhead tolling gantries will be placed within each tolling segment along Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370.  The toll rates are determined on a segment-by-segment basis and summed to form a trip. The toll rate per mile may vary within each tolling segment based on traffic conditions, resulting in higher rates in the more congested segments and lower rates in the less congested segments.  The Executive Director may set or adjust the soft rate cap, operational metrics, or toll zones consistent with the toll ranges established by the MDTA Board.

 

RECOMMENDED ACTION (RECOMMENDED TOLL RATE RANGES, SOFT RATE CAPS, DISCOUNTS, AND FREE PASSAGE) FOR VEHICLE CLASSIFICATIONS BY PAYMENT TYPE

VEHICLE
CLASSIFICATIONS

GENERAL PURPOSE LANES

HOT LANES

Payment Type

Recommended Toll Rate Ranges (2021$/mile)3

 

HOV 3+
Vanpools Carpools

 

Buses
|Motorcycles

Minimum
Toll Rate Range2

Soft Rate Cap

Maximum
Toll Rate Range

Passenger Vehicle (2-axle)

Free

Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) (E-ZPass)

 

$0.17

$1.50

$3.76

Free

Free

Motorcycle

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

3-axle Light

$0.26

$2.25

$5.64

3-axle Heavy

$0.34

$3.00

$7.53

4-axle Light

$0.43

$3.75

$9.41

4-axle Heavy

$0.51

$4.50

$11.29

5-axle

$1.02

$9.00

$22.58

6+-axle

$1.28

$11.25

$28.22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passenger Vehicle (2-axle)

Free

Pay-By-Plate (Registered Video)

(1.25x ETC)

$0.21

$1.88

$4.70

Free

Free

Motorcycle

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

3-axle Light

$0.32

$2.81

$7.05

3-axle Heavy

$0.43

$3.75

$9.41

4-axle Light

$0.53

$4.69

$11.76

4-axle Heavy

$0.64

$5.63

$14.11

5-axle

$1.28

$11.25

$28.23

6+-axle

$1.59

$14.06

$35.28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passenger Vehicle (2-axle)

Free

Video Tolling1, 4 (Unregistered Video)

(1.5x ETC)

$0.26

$2.25

$5.64

Free

Free

Motorcycle

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

3-axle Light

$0.38

$3.38

$8.47

3-axle Heavy

$0.51

$4.50

$11.29

4-axle Light

$0.64

$5.63

$14.11

4-axle Heavy

$0.77

$6.75

$16.93

5-axle

$1.53

$13.50

$33.86

6+-axle

$1.91

$16.88

$42.33

1Total unregistered video surcharge (difference between ETC toll and unregistered video toll amount) cannot exceed $15 per trip. The surcharge is subject to escalation as defined below.

2The minimum trip toll (not per mile) by payment type for all vehicle types would be $0.50 for customers using E-ZPass®, $0.63 for customers using Pay-By-Plate (Registered Video), and $0.75 for customers using Video Tolling (Unregistered Video).

3Escalation formulas can be found in the 09-30-2021 Board Book.

4Customers can receive an early payment discount of 15% off their toll up to $5 for unregistered video trips if paid before notice is mailed.

Elements of the Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) for public comment include:

  • Minimum and Maximum Toll Rate Ranges: The lowest and highest per-mile toll rates that may be charged within any tolling segment. The minimum toll rate also refers to the lowest total toll (not per mile) that may be charged, regardless of how far a vehicle travels, to ensure short HOT lanes trips are charged a flat minimum toll to cover toll collection costs. There are no changes from the May 20 proposal to the maximum per-mile toll rates nor to the minimum toll rate (not per mile).
  • Soft Rate Cap: A per-mile toll rate within each toll rate range that can only be exceeded when vehicle speed is reduced, or traffic volumes increase, to predetermined speed and throughput thresholds. The caps protect our customers by ensuring that the Section Developer may only exceed a specific per-mile toll rate (within the approved ranges) for the impacted tolling segment as specified by the predetermined thresholds. This will provide drivers choosing to use the HOT lanes a faster and more reliable trip. There are no changes from the May 20 proposal to the soft rate cap.
  • Escalation Factors: The approved toll rate ranges are intended for the duration of the Phase 1 South agreement. For the toll rates to effectively manage demand and ensure reliability for users of the HOT lanes into the future, the maximum toll rate range, soft rate cap and unregistered video surcharge will escalate over time to account for inflation, population employment, and income growth. The minimum per-mile toll rate and minimum toll are subject to escalation for inflation only. There are no changes from the May 20 proposal to the escalation factors.
  • Discounts: To provide opportunities for faster, more reliable carpooling, vanpooling and transit options, free passage will be granted in the HOT lanes for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) 3+ (all vehicles carrying three or more passengers) and buses, as well as for motorcycles. There are no changes from the May 20 proposal to the discounts.

For more detailed information on the minimum toll rate, the soft rate cap, and the maximum toll rate, please visit the Public Hearing Virtual Information Room Archive.  *NOTE: The Public Hearing Virtual Information Room Archive reflects MDTA staff’s May 20 proposal. The minimum toll rate range (specifically as shown on Board 25 of 35) was lowered in MDTA staff’s September 30 Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) based on feedback received from the first public comment period.  The Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) for review and comment between September 30 and October 28, 2021 is shown in the table above.


Tolling Videos

Review the video below to learn more about the how the soft rate cap works. *NOTE: The video reflects MDTA staff’s May 20 proposal. The minimum toll rate range was lowered in MDTA staff’s September 30 Recommended Action (recommended toll rate ranges) based on feedback received from the first public comment period.  Please review the Recommended Action for recommended toll rate ranges.

 

Review the video below to learn more about the how dynamic pricing works.


Information and Studies

In compliance with Maryland Annotated Code Section 4-312, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is required to provide information and studies used in its analysis to justify a proposed increase in tolls. In accordance with this law, the documents below were used by MDTA staff in developing the toll rate range proposal for Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370.
Due to the unique nature of the toll rate range for this project which includes a minimum, maximum, and soft cap, a wide variety of information and studies were used by MDTA staff in their analysis. As such, the documents also include a wide variety of reports, memorandums, letters, and presentations. Many of the documents are highly technical and draw upon the best information and study methodologies available related to toll rate estimation for a dynamically priced HOT lane project. The documents are dated between November 2019 and March 2021.  A detailed review of the documents shows that certain elements of the information and analysis evolved over time to support the toll rate range proposal presented to the MDTA Board on May 20, 2021.

Two of the documents [191104_Final_495270_ManagedLanesTrafficRevenueStudy-Redacted.pdf and 201112_Final_495270_ManagedLaneTollRateSoftRateCapAnalysis-Redacted.pdf] include limited redactions of transaction, traffic, and revenue information. The redactions were made to preserve the Maryland public’s interest in financial negotiations with the Phase 1 Selected Developer and in financial negotiations with Virginia related to the Bi-State Agreement. Toll rate information in these two documents, which was most important for developing the toll rate range proposal, was not redacted.

 

 

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