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Will EZ Pass Express lanes save Baltimore Beltway?

New EZ Pass lanes are coming north of Baltimore along Interstate 95, and the state is counting on motorists using it to fund highway projects across the heavily traveled loop around Baltimore.

The Beltway was never designed to handle the traffic it handles today during rush hours. The west side is constantly backed up due to bridge repair along Frederick Road, and more construction to widen the beltway will only cause further headaches.

This is increasing pain on motorists who were hit with taxes in Maryland on area bridges and a new gasoline tax that is proving to be unpopular.

The Intercounty Connector boondoggle has also been an embarrassment to the O’Malley administration that has sacked taxpayers with the bill, while revenue from the new toll road has fallen short of expectations.

From The Baltimore Sun

The average rush-hour commuter will pay about $3.50 in daily round-trip tolls to use the new express lanes being built along Interstate 95 north of Baltimore, according to a rate structure approved by the Maryland Transportation Authority’s board on Thursday.

Peak-hour rates will be set at 25 cents per mile along the 7-mile stretch for two-axle vehicles, with drivers paying 20 cents per mile during off-peak hours and 10 cents per mile during overnight hours.

The executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Administration stated that motorists will benefit during rush hours as the express lanes are filled with traffic from the general use lanes decreasing congestion.

Yeah, we’ll see about that.

The way Interstate 70 and Interstate 95 connect to the beltway further adds to the backups and traffic that only get worse each year.

The growth of the federal government in Washington DC has also put additional strain into the system from Route 29 from the south meeting up with I-70 as commuters drive home back north.

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