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Craig Appears on WJZ Opposing Toll Increases

The Harford County Council recently passed a resolution opposing the increases.

Harford County Executive David Craig made a brief appearance on WJZ Thursday night to oppose toll increases.

“I could drive in my car to Key West, Florida and not pay one penny in tolls. That’s just not fair,” Craig said on the broadcast.

The that opposed toll increases proposed by the Maryland Transportation Authority.

For the entire WJZ article, click here.

Tom Barnes July 15, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Nice to have our local government(s) stepping up. I personally sincerely appreciate Davids and HCC effort. I just hope it's not too late. The question is, "What exactly can these local resolutions do to change the outcome?" The question still remains: What are all of our lawmakers doing about this in Annapolis? Is this going to be like the BGE fiasco where voices are raised but at the end of the day we heard, "So sorry. There was nothing we could do." We own this state ~ not the MdTA and its up to lawnakers to protect their constituents. You can do that by passing laws. GET TO WORK.
Proud to be liberal July 16, 2011 at 02:05 PM
David Craig: Well yes you could drive to Key West and not pay a penny in tolls if you did not cross a bridge, used a tunnel and stayed on federal roads. Who do you expect to repair the oldest (built in 1940) of the seven toll facilities operated and maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority? Your statement, and Harford County Council’s resolution, is nothing more than political pandering.
George Helm July 16, 2011 at 02:42 PM
He's right as the tolls start at MD. Just don't drive north. It has been reported that the toll facilities profited 58m dollars last year. If this is after expenses please remember this when you vote next year! Also remember all the other increases in this state, beverage, cigarette, paper bags, flush tax, property/assessments and all the others that are proposed.
betty coakley July 16, 2011 at 04:10 PM
In an effort to avoid driving on the Jersey Turnpike, I figured out a way to travel to Fairfield, CT from Havre de Grace only paying the toll at the Tappan Zee Bridge - and it only takes about 20 minutes longer with fewer traffic jams.
betty coakley July 16, 2011 at 04:29 PM
I believe that it is only fair for the people who are going to be unfairly taxed by the MDTA know who the people are who are deciding - other than the governor. Understand that I am just starting, so my accuracy may not be 100% Of the board members I can find none in Harford County One member is from Cecil County and should be of major interest to Cecil County small businesses. She is Mary Beyer Halsey, President and CEO of Cecil Bancorp (Cecil Savings Bank) and appointed by O,Malley February, 2008 Courtesy of Forbes.com, in 2010 her compensation was $244,800 with an additional $71,128.00 in exercised stock options. She is also on many boards of directors, for which I am certain there is compensation. The minutes of the MDTA are on the internet. In the January 27, 2011 meeting (amended June 23, 2011) in 50 minutes where most memberss were 'attending' by telephone, they discussed expenditures of millions of dollare and how wonderful their police were. The ICC (intercounty connector - Prince Georges, Montgomery and DC) was a major part of the finances discussed. I found nothing about us. Of the remaining members, and chairman, I will be doing them one at a time. They seem to generally be Baltimore, Annapolis area, and DC suburbs folks. We need to know just who it is that is deciding how we spend our paychecks. I consider this a form of necessary financial disclosure. By the way, do these people have to file a state financial disclosure form. They should.
George Helm July 16, 2011 at 07:43 PM
Typical, easy to spend OPM, other peoples money!
Proud to be liberal July 16, 2011 at 11:27 PM
Betty: All of that information is irrelevant. The facts are that this bridge is 71 years old (about as old as I.) It needs a lot of expensive upkeep, as do I. Why don’t you just begin a petition to privatize the bridge? I am certain that all of these citizens who are so upset with the raise in tolls would be happy to take this bridge away from the state and bear the full cost of maintaining it while keeping your ten dollar a year toll. Why is it that I hear all the tea party folks whining about people who take government handouts while they are perfectly willing to take a handout from the rest of the state? We can have a new county motto: “Harford County the Welfare Queen of Maryland.”
betty coakley July 17, 2011 at 01:43 AM
This situation is, or should be, non-partisan. People who are supposed to work for the people accept a responsibility to spend the peoples money fairly. That is always relevant. Is it necessary to say that we should work together to be certain that no part of the states popolation should carry a burden that benefits unequally another part of the states population. I have always found relevant the manner and means by which taxpayers money is spent. And who is doing the spending. An educated electorate and an abiding transparency are important to voters no matter what a persons political.beliefs may be. While it is the responsibility of representatives, both elected and appointed, to do these things, it is a citizens responsibility to ask questions and seek answers. To do less is to cynically give up on government. So let's work together to solve the problem. It is solveable - but the more information we have the closer we are to a fair solution.
Brent July 17, 2011 at 06:10 AM
If I am to understand your logic about this, let me ask you: why do people get to cross the Wilson Bridge for free?
Proud to be liberal July 17, 2011 at 02:04 PM
Betty: You stated that:”no part of the states population should carry a burden that benefits unequally another part of the state’s population…” My point exactly! The users of the state’s other six facilities should not have to unfairly bear the brunt on maintaining this ancient facility so you can use it virtually for free. The Hatem Bridge will need $132 MILLION in repairs. Do you think $10.00 annually will cover that? Brent: The Wilson Bridge is part of the I-295 interchange. It is not part of the MDTA purview. You don’t cross it for free as it is part of our “socialist” government entitlement.
Tom Fitzpatrick July 18, 2011 at 01:34 PM
No, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge was a joint venture between the Maryland State Highway Adminstration and the Virginina Department of Transportation. it was 90% Federally funded (as it is a part of the Interstate highway system). It has no connection to the Maryland Transportation Authority. It was paid for by gasoline federal and state gasoline taxes.
Amazed July 18, 2011 at 03:34 PM
132 million is an interesting number… care to share where it came from? I only ask since the recent nearly four year makeover (when it only took our forefathers 20 months to build the whole bridge) was less than half that number. I do think the toll needs to be increased, but this is not an increase to pay for maintenance. The ICC website states tolls will be used to “control congestion”… not as any sort of “pay for the 2.5 BILLION dollar cost” measure. The ICC isn’t even intended to help with the problems on the Beltway or 95… just cross county traffic between Casa de Mongtomery and PG counties. The Hatem Bridge predates the MTA yet someone at some time decided it was their ATM. The Hatem Bridge has been paid for many times over by generations of locals and those locals and commuters would be happy to foot the bill to maintain it. I just wonder why there is a $54/year toll before the $90 toll kicks in… why bother? Are these millionaires on the board actually thinking this is some sort of compassionate move on their part? It’s still a 900% increase mandated by incompetence.
Proud to be liberal July 18, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Amazed: MDTA has maintenance improvements underway and budgeted through the FY 2011-2016 capital program for each facility. The following are some, but not all, of these improvements: Thomas J. Hatem Bridge John F. Kennedy Highway (I-95)Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) • Replace deck and miscellaneous repairs $66.8 million • Underwater repairs $54.3 million • Painting $10.8 million Total $131,900,000 http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/Toll_Increase/documents/Capital%20Maintenance%20Handout.pdf Moreover, according to the MTA web site, Revenue and Expenses Recorded at Facility Level 2007 (the earliest report), this bridge lost $1,322,773; in 2008 it lost $13,715,878: in 2009 it lost $23,472,774; in 2009 it lost $24,830,725. This bridge is a black hole; it sucks money from the rest of the state. But I guess that is perfectly OK with you?
Tom Barnes July 19, 2011 at 10:55 AM
It would be nice if the Patch would make it so that people had to use their actual names on their posts or face deletion of their posts. It's too much like that obscene rag that other's use and abuse. That said - Proud to be a liberal: We have paid for the bridge many times over AND paid for the repairs that were just done with past taxes...er...tolls and with the purchase of the AVI stickers. The 40 bridge isn't part of the interstate system. It should have no tolls on it. Your argument does not hold water. There are a lot of bridges in Maryland and we are not taxed to use them, yet we somehow pay for the upkeep.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Tom: You are very mistaken. The MTA web site clearly contradicts your statements. The Hatem Bridge is part of the MTA and it is responsible for its upkeep. Do you really think that your $10 a year will pay for the $132,000,000.00 in repairs that STILL need to be completed? According to the MTA’s audit report, which you apparently did not read, this bridge LOST $63,342,150.00 in the last FOUR years. How can you possible believe your measly taxes (tolls) will pay for this? Why do you think the rest of the state should support your use of this very expensive bridge? Do you feel that you are somehow entitled to welfare? The Harem Bridge users have been an unfair burden to the rest of the state for far too long!
Amazed July 19, 2011 at 01:24 PM
I have never argued that tolls should remain static. I am a bit curious about numbers prior to 2007 when little or no maintenance took place for decades. Any accountant can make numbers dance. I have issues with an organization that’s supposed to manage these facilities that displays such egregious incompetence. At some point someone determined $10 per year was sufficient to cover costs… it then remained that way for years. Now, apparently, someone has awakened and discovered that while they were pulling in their six figure salary and playing solitaire until they could hit the links, costs have risen so dramatically they need to multiply the toll by nine. The fact that this sort of incompetence is rewarded in government and organizations like the MdTA doesn’t make it right. Phased in increases over the years would have been much easier on people since many, like myself, don’t see it so much as a monetary hardship but as one more example of having stupid people in charge of important matters – all of us pay for their mistakes while they receive a bonus for all those shiny new ez-pass units that’ll be sold (did you notice they have barcode labels on them even though that's "outdated technology"?). Don’t forget, there was no “administrative” fee on EZ-Pass until they built up a decent user base… then they invented it. That’s bait and switch, and I’m sure that $18 will grow even though it’s a bogus charge… they gotta pay board member bonuses somehow.
Amazed July 19, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Proud to be Liberal, I’m somewhat confused… as a proud liberal, you should embrace the idea of placing the burden on the many to benefit the few yet you rail against it… perhaps if we were all minorities, undocumented, snail darters, or spotted owls you could get on board…
Amazed July 19, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Proud to be Liberal, By the way, the string of numbers you quote as losses are irrelevant. Of course it lost money those years, they’re balancing income against the cost they put out for the new deck (which incidentally would have been completed in a fraction of the time if this were a bridge somewhere important). 150,000 decals only brings in 1.5 million plus the casual transients that pay full fare. They’re not going to quote the numbers for the last 50 years. Most people understand the toll needs to increase, but the biggest fight is against switching AVI to ez-pass.
Bill Lawson July 19, 2011 at 01:58 PM
I agree with you Amazed… What were the maintenance costs prior to 2007 when little or no work was done? It’s blatantly obvious that their accountants are skewing the numbers in their favor. The current situation shows that the MTA has dug themselves into a financial pit that we, the drivers of Maryland, have to bail them out of. I wholeheartedly agree with your appraisal of “egregious incompetence”.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Bill and Amazed: You mean when Ehrlich was governor and put these things off? Ever hear of the phrase “penny wise and pound foolish?” Your boy neglected all sorts of things for someone else to fix. Sort of like Bush running up a record deficit from the Clinton record surplus.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Amazed: You are confused but I expect that from a Republican. You obviously do not know what a liberal is. You are thinking of the tea party movement who want the many middle class to benefit the few billionaires, oil companies, death companies (guns) and coal companies. Isn’t that your mantra: do not tax the rich so the middle class can pay more?
Tom Barnes July 19, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Proud to be a Liberal - man up and use your name. Then take your belittling, demeaning posts over to the Dagger. They appreciate our kind. We don't.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Tom Barnes: I don't hear you complaining about those writers with whom you agree. This blog is replete with anonymous contributors. It is a standard procedure. Have you ever read newspapers from Colonial times? Many contributors were anonymous. BTW, they were true tea party members, not what we have today. You are such a hypocrite. Instead of whining about my posts, try to refute them. Use facts to prove I am incorrect. Show me where I have erred in my analyses. Democracy requires freedom of expression, not agreement with you.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Bill: It was Ehrlich who did no maintenance prior to 2007 that we now have to “dig them out of that hole” you refer to. How soon you forget.
Proud to be liberal July 19, 2011 at 08:37 PM
Tom Barnes: Calling me names does NOT refute my facts or arguments. Name calling is the last refuge of the out-argued. “If you can't answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names.”Elbert Hubbard
Amazed July 20, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Proud to be Liberal: On the contrary, I'd hammer the extremely wealthy. Once you have a billion or even several million, what exactly is the point in another? It’s pathological. I, unlike you, am not a partisan and have no need for a mantra. I may have missed something, but I believe Ehrlich was only in for 1 term. The AVI has been in use and for the most part static for decades yet you feel the need to blame a one term Republican because it makes you feel better. Someone in the MdTA is to blame for this situation and they'll probably be promoted.
George Helm July 20, 2011 at 06:12 PM
WOW! Some of you people are a perfect example of why some species eat their young, and you know who you are!
Amazed July 20, 2011 at 08:36 PM
PTBL, I have already refuted your arguments. The MdTA determined the fees long ago and never saw fit to change them. You quote the numbers the MdTA gives you for the years they’ve been working on the bridge without the years when it was profitable. Instead, based on what the MdTA has given you, you decide the bridge is a “black hole” and anyone who doesn’t agree with you belongs in your box of enemies labeled “Tea Party”, “Conservative” and “Republican”. I don’t fit in any of your boxes. You inform us that they have their plans out to 2016 – apparently they didn’t have those sorts of tools five or ten years ago to allow them to foresee the need to increase the tolls before having to multiply them by 9. Can you really tell me that if you found milk was now over $30 per gallon you wouldn’t question exactly what is going on with these idiots? The ICC cost over 2.5 billion dollars. That money has to come from somewhere.
Proud to be liberal July 20, 2011 at 11:16 PM
Amazed: You wrote, "The ICC cost over 2.5 billion dollars. That money has to come from somewhere." I thought it would come from those who use it just as the Hatem Bridge should pay for its upkeep as it is they who use it. If that isn’t the case, it SHOULD be.
Amazed July 21, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Yes, PTBL, you are absolutely correct. Those using the bridge should fund its maintenance. Long ago the MdTA set the toll rate on the Hatem Bridge – not the commuters. Now, we find out that either they’re completely incompetent boobs OR they need money for something else. Check the FAQ on the ICC website, you’ll see that the MdTA intends to use tolls for “managing congestion” – their words.. The MdTA is funding 1.23 BILLION dollars of the total. That’s One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Millions… unless they’re going to have one Whopper of a toll on the ICC it’s going to take a LONG time to recover that cost… and from what I’ve heard the usage of the portion that’s complete is underwhelming. It’s not meant to help with congestion on the beltway or 95 – only to replace two lane roads between two wealthy counties. That’s why I look at the Hatem toll hike with such suspicion.

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