FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2019
KEY & HATEM BRIDGES TO BEGIN
CASHLESS TOLL COLLECTION IN OCTOBER 2019
Toll Dollars at Work
BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) today announced it will begin cashless toll collection at the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) in Baltimore and the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) in Harford and Cecil counties. Tolls will be collected via E-ZPass or Video Tolling. The change will take effect in late October 2019.
“Moving to cashless tolling at the Hatem and Key bridges is just one more example of how Maryland is leading the nation in using technology to reduce congestion,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Pete K. Rahn.
In February 2018, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved two contracts for the MDTA’s next-generation tolling system. These contracts allow for cashless tolling at Maryland toll facilities. The MDTA plans to convert the Hatem and Key Bridges first because 93 percent of Hatem Bridge customers and 80 percent of Key Bridge customers currently pay with E-ZPass. While the schedule has not yet been finalized, additional MDTA facilities will be converted in the future.
Cashless tolling has been the national trend for more than a decade. Benefits include rate savings for customers; less idling time for better fuel efficiency and reduced vehicle emissions; decreased congestion; increased driver safety; and a safer work environment for employees. Each year, drivers at the Hatem and Key bridges will save $1 million in fuel and 44,000 hours just by not stopping at toll booths.
“We are excited to begin delivering the next-generation tolling system, which will absolutely revolutionize the way the MDTA provides customer service,” said MDTA Executive Director Kevin C. Reigrut. “As the MDTA continues to reinvent our relationship with our customers, cashless tolling is the first ‘down payment’ on all the great enhancements coming to our system and benefitting our customers.”
The MDTA is rolling out cashless tolling in phases. New overhead tolling structures, or gantries, will be installed by September 2019 at the Hatem and Key bridges. In late October 2019, all tolls at the bridges will start being collected electronically via these gantries; however, drivers will still continue to travel through the existing toll plazas.
In spring 2021, the final work at the Hatem and Key bridges will be completed, including demolition of the existing toll plazas and pavement reconstruction. At that time, motorists will be able to travel at highway speeds with tolls collected electronically by the overhead gantries.
Cashless tolling is one of many customer service improvements coming with the MDTA’s next-generation tolling system. Customers will soon have more payment options, a new and improved website with a live chat feature and a new mobile app.
The MDTA’s E-ZPass Maryland outreach team is available to provide free E-ZPass “On the Go” transponders and to sign up new customers at events. If your business or organization is having an event, please contact the MDTA at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule the outreach team.
These new customer-friendly efforts are just the latest way Marylanders can take advantage of the benefits of using E-ZPass. In May 2015, Governor Larry Hogan lowered toll rates in Maryland for the first time in 50 years. Since then, Marylanders have saved $219 million in tolls. In May 2018, Governor Hogan eliminated the $7.50 E-ZPass Maryland transponder fee. Since then, 114,000 new E-ZPass accounts have opened and 167,000 free transponders have been provided to customers.
The MDTA is self-sufficient and receives no gas tax, motor vehicle fees, or other revenue in the Transportation Trust Fund. The MDTA facilities are fully financed, operated, maintained, improved, and protected with toll revenues paid by customers using those facilities.