FYI, in short, the toll along I-95 at the Delaware-Maryland border will increase from $2 to $3 effective tomorrow, October 1. EZPass & HOV (carpool) discounts will be eliminated as well. Current EZPass toll rate is $1.25.
Received this today from a week e-mail from the Greater Valley Forge (PA) Transportation Management Association (Bold emphasis added):
DelDOT Announces Toll Increase Along I-95
“The Delaware Department of Transportation announces that effective October 1, 2005 new toll rates will go into effect at the I-95 Newark Toll Plaza. Additionally, all current E-ZPass discount plans will be eliminated and a new commercial vehicle discount plan will be created. None of these changes will affect the toll rate sructure or the E-ZPass benefits for the toll facilities along Delaware State Route 1. Discount plans being eliminated at the I-95 Newark Toll Plaza include the standard discount offered to all E-ZPass customers and the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) plan. Personalized letters were sent to about 1,000 customers enrolled in the HOV program to inform them of this change. Commercial vehicles (those vehicles with three or more axles) enrolled in the E-ZPass program transiting the I-95 Newark Plaza between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. will receive a 75% discount off the normal rate. The current toll rates on I-95 went into effect on January 4, 1999. Since then most neighboring states have found it necessary to increase their toll rates, some as much as 100%. At this time, an increase in Delaware tolls on I-95 has become a necessity due to both inflation and reduction of funds in the budget.
New toll rates on I-95, Effective October 1, 2005 are:
# of Axles / Old Rate / New Rate / New Commercial Night Discount (10 p.m. - 6 a.m.)
2 / $2.00 / $3.00 / N/A
3 / $2.50 / $5.00 / $1.25
4 / $3.75 / $6.00 / $1.50
5 / $5.00 / $8.00 / $2.00
6 / $6.25 / $10.00 / $2.50
For more information, visit DelDOT's webiste at www.deldot.net, tune into WTMC-AM 1380, call the Delaware E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 1-888-397-2773, or visit the website at www.EZPassDE.com.
What makes this increase so outrageous you might ask, let me count the ways:
1. Toll increases are one thing but to eliminate of any form of EZPass and HOV discounts at a time of record-high gas prices makes absolutely no sense and clearly sends the wrong message to motorists. It essentially eliminates any incentive for car-pooling or motorists to sign up for EZPass as a means of reducing pollution and gas consumption by idling in the conventional cash toll lanes.
2. Until I received this e-mail, there was absolutely no mention of this toll increase ever occuring. Past toll increases were reported in newscasts and newspapers throughout the Delaware Valley (region includes Greater Philadelphia, Trenton & Wilmington). Coincidentally, I just happen to be heading over to North East, Maryland this weekend (leaving tonight, returning Sunday afternoon/evening); as a protest to the EZPass discount elimination (I do have EZPass), I may just use exit off I-95 in Elkton and take either Route 2 or US 40 to get into Delaware.
3. No disrepect to any that may be truckers or in the trucking industry here, but it appears that much larger, heavier (and gas thirsty) multi-axle trucks will be getting all the toll discounts during the off-peak overnight hours despite the fact that these vehicles, over time, do cause much more wear on the road surface than any conventional vehicle. Why not extend the same discount courtesy to EZPass users like the New Jersey Turnpike does?
[Edited 2005-09-30 17:03:45]