TOLL RATE RANGE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD OPENS
FOR PHASE 1 SOUTH: AMERICAN LEGION BRIDGE I-270 TO I-370
Virtual & In-person Public Hearings to be Announced;24/7 Access to Hearing Materials Online
BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) today announced opening of the public-comment period as part of the toll rate range setting process for Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370. The announcement follows the MDTA Board approval to seek public comment on the tolling proposal presented by MDTA staff during today’s livestreamed MDTA Board meeting. The MDTA will provide dates and details in future announcements for virtual and in-person public hearings to be held during the comment period.
Starting today, May 20, 2021, public comment is being accepted, and all public hearing materials are available in the Virtual Information Room at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting. Written comments and call-in testimony through voicemail will be accepted for the official record through Thursday, August 12, at 5 p.m.:
- submit an electronic comment form at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting;
- download and email a completed comment form to ALB270TollSetting@mdta.maryland.gov;
- print and mail a completed comment form to Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 Toll Rate Range Public Comment, Maryland Transportation Authority, 2310 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD 21224; or
- provide call-in testimony at 855-701-1977 and leave a single voicemail that is limited to three minutes.
The MDTA also is planning public hearings to seek public testimony on the proposed toll rate ranges for Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370. The hearings will provide an opportunity to comment for the official record through verbal public or one-on-one testimony or through written comment.
The new Recommended Preferred Alternative (RPA) recently identified by the Federal Highway Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration for the Managed Lanes Study focuses solely on building a new American Legion Bridge and delivering two high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction on I-270 to I-370. MDTA’s toll rate range proposal is limited in focus to solely Phase I South. Any action to fix or revise tolls outside of Phase 1 South would require a separate toll setting process in accordance with state law.
In the RPA, existing general-purpose travel lanes throughout the corridor will be retained and will remain free for use by all motorists. Drivers with less than three occupants in the vehicle would only pay if they choose to use the HOT lanes. HOV3+ will allow carpools, vanpools and other vehicles carrying three or more people to travel faster and more reliably in the new HOT lanes free of charge any time of day. Buses and motorcycles also will be granted free passage on the new HOT lanes, providing opportunities for a faster, more-reliable trip. This alternative would deliver a new American Legion Bridge as the primary link between key economic centers in Maryland and Virginia, and would add a bicycle and pedestrian connection across the bridge to the C&O Canal.
The elements of the MDTA staff tolling proposal for public comment are:
- 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.
- 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.
- Escalation Factors: The approved toll rate ranges are intended for the duration of the Phase 1 South agreement (anticipated to be 50 years). 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 toll rate range and minimum toll are subject to escalation for inflation only.
- 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.
Registration to provide testimony at a public hearing will open once the public hearing dates are announced. There will be no formal presentation during the public hearings, and no responses to questions will be given. The public will be able to listen live to the hearings via telephone or by watching a livestream at mdta.maryland.gov/ALB270TollSetting. ALL COMMENTS received, whether at the hearing or through other methods, will be given EQUAL CONSIDERATION.
If you are unable to access the hearing materials 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at 410-537-6720.