Annapolis Department of Transportation Approves Toll At Spa Creek Bridge

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Do you live south of Spa Creek? If so, your visit to downtown Annapolis will cost you three dollars as of May 1. In a convoluted decision-making process, the Annapolis Department of Transportation was able to bypass city council and the Maryland Department of Public Works to institute the toll, which will go effect immediately after the collection facility is constructed at the base of the Spa Creek Bridge on 6th Street in Eastport. The department will handle the logistics of the toll facility until council votes to form a new departmental authority to manage the day-to-day operations.

“It’s no secret that the city, and our department, in particular, has been facing some budgetary challenges over the past few years,” said John Gerten, Director of the Annapolis Department of Transportation. “Unfortunately, our bus system runs in the red every year. So, either we find new revenue sources or we raise taxes and fares. In my mind, this is the best solution. Sure, some people will grumble, like they did when the parking rates were raised, but in the end, everyone just accepts it.”

City Officials Look to the New Revenue Stream

The toll is projected to contribute almost $2.2 million annually to the city coffers, which will go to to the general fund. Toll monies in the first year will also be used as seed money for the newly-created Annapolis Toll Enforcement Department, which is anticipated to add five full-time and two part-time employees to city rolls.

“The Spa Creek Bridge costs money to maintain just as the Bay Bridge costs money to maintain,” said Mayor Mike Pantelides. “It’s only fair that those who use the bridge are the ones who pay for it. And a toll is the fairest way to make sure that we can keep it freshly-painted. And let’s be honest, budgets don’t balance themselves. We have to start getting creative with revenue streams.”

Residents Worry About Traffic Backups

The project is not without its critic,s as many Eastport residents expressed their dismay at the new toll, which is charged going into Annapolis, but not outbound.

“This is joke, right?” said Amy Morrison, longtime Eastport resident. “To be honest, the toll doesn’t really affect me, since the locals don’t go downtown, anyway, but traffic will be backed up all the way to the Eastport Shopping Center throughout the freaking day. How the hell am I, or any other Eastport resident for that matter, supposed to get in and out of our own homes?”

Gerten admitted that there will be some amount of congestion that hadn’t existed before, but the toll will accept the EZ Pass, which may speed up the wait, although there will not be a dedicated lane. Residents will have to be patient, he said, while the process is ironed out.

The toll rates will be evaluated annually by the newly-formed toll department, which will not need approval from council to raise them. A source close to the Mayor’s office said that toll booths are also being considered for Aris T. Allen Boulevard, Westgate Circle, and Rowe Boulevard at Taylor Avenue, although no formal plans are in place yet.

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Category: City of Annapolis

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Staff writer. What the hell does that mean? Oh yeah, that's right. I do all the fucking grunt work while Linda, Wanda and Mark take all the credit. Hey, but you know what, that's OK. The checks always clear the bank. But come the day that they don't...let me just say four words.... Mark.Naked.Farm.Animals

Comments (6)

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  1. jp says:

    Aaand that’s why I left no representation for the common man.

  2. JW says:

    You have got to be kidding, right!?!?
    This is an early April Fool’s joke, right?!?!

  3. Sri Hyland says:

    The only people who should have to pay a bridge toll are the sail boats that cause it to open, not the drivers inconvenienced by the bridge opening and now a toll booth to further back traffic up !! Are you kidding me?

  4. Kw says:

    This has to be a joke….

  5. DljH says:

    “…Sure, some people will grumble, like they did when the parking rates were raised, but in the end, everyone just accepts it.”

    Am I the only one who is done with just “accepting it” as the way it goes down in Annapolis ?

  6. LBN says:

    Ridiculous! I read elsewhere it will be a $3 toll. WTF! How about no charge or something like $0.50 for Annapolis residents. Tax the tourists and the sailboats. This will drastically impact traffic on Spa, Hilltop and Forest drive. Not too mention Eastport traffic. Just more of the gimmie your money mentality of MD Democrats.

    Born and Raised here for +50 years. Annapolis the past 20 years has gone to h**l. Local merchants pushed aside for chain restaurants and stores, etc. The Market House is a joke these days (thanks to Ellen Moyer).

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