There’s one week to go before the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) begins cashless toll collection at the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) in Harford and Cecil counties. Prior to the morning rush hour on Wednesday, October 16, all-electronic toll collection will begin at the Hatem Bridge via E-ZPass® and Video Tolling.
Under all-electronic tolling, cash will no longer be accepted as payment at the Hatem Bridge. New overhead tolling structures, or gantries, have been installed at the bridges to collect tolls electronically. The existing toll plazas will still be up at the Hatem Bridge until 2021. Drivers will continue through the plazas without stopping and must obey all roadway signs and speed limits, as these plazas will remain active work zones.
In spring 2021, work at the Hatem Bridge will be completed, including demolition of the toll plazas. At that time, motorists will be able to travel at highway speeds. Officials announced the move to all-electronic tolling at the Hatem Bridge and at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore this past spring. All-electronic toll collection at the Key Bridge will begin Wednesday, October 30.
Cashless tolling eases congestion and results in less idling time, which allows better fuel efficiency and reduced vehicle emissions. It is anticipated that cashless tolling at the Hatem and Key bridges will save $1 million in fuel and 44,000 hours each year. The change also increases driver safety and results in a safer work environment for employees.
At the Hatem bridge, 93 percent of drivers are E-ZPass®users. Maryland E-ZPass® customers receive significant discounts at most Maryland toll facilities. At the Hatem bridge – where tolls are collected in one direction only – the two-axle E-ZPass® toll rate is $6, and the two-axle Video Toll rate is $12. The E-ZPass® Hatem Bridge Discount Plans will remain available with cashless tolling. Due to processing costs, the Video Toll rate is 50 percent above the cash/base rate with a maximum of $15 above the base rates.
Standard E-ZPass® transponders are free and there is no monthly fee for customers with Maryland addresses. Interested motorists can sign up for E-ZPass® Maryland at ezpassmd.com, by visiting the E-ZPass® Maryland Customer Service Center at the Hatem bridge, or at any other Customer Service Centers located adjacent to MDTA facilities. Registration is also available at many Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) locations or retail partners. A full list of locations is available at ezpassmd.com.
While the schedule has not yet been finalized, additional MDTA facilities will be all-electronic in the future. MDTA is implementing cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge from noon to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through the duration of the Westbound Bay Bridge Rehabilitation Project.
The MDTA is self-sufficient and receives no gas tax, motor vehicle fees or other revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund. MDTA facilities are fully financed, operated, maintained, improved and protected through toll revenues paid by customers using those facilities.