Stateline Story

Maryland Bridge Tolls Could Double

MARYLAND TOLLS: Maryland residents could be in for a shock as tolls for bridges are likely to double or in some cases triple, but the changes would only bring the state rates in line with tolls elsewhere, writes Michael Dressler of the Baltimore Sun . Under a current proposal, the price of crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge would go from the current $2.50 to $8 in July 2013. By comparison, Dressler points out, the fee for using Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City is $13. Meanwhile, officials in neighboring Delaware are not worried that the Bay Bridge toll hikes will hurt their tourist traffic, according to the News Journal of Wilmington. Delaware's tourism director told the paper that "Delaware's tax-free savings allows visitors to stretch their dollars, which more than offsets any ancillary costs."

MOTORCYCLE HELMETS: When she was Michigan's governor, Jennifer Granholm twice vetoed legislation to allow motorcyclists to ride without helmets. This year, writes Chris Christoff of the Detroit Free Press , there is a "new mystery: No one knows whether Governor Rick Snyder would sign a bill to repeal the law." Motorcyclists are trying to take advantage of the chance, with Granholm gone, to repeal Michigan's helmet requirement. But insurance companies and medical groups are fighting to keep it. Bikers in Michigan are not required to buy insurance.

TAKING CREDIT: Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, is touring the state to trumpet $1.8 billion in new highway projects, even though he opposed the sales tax increase that is paying for the construction, reports Scott Rothschild of the Lawrence Journal World. Brownback "touts his anti-tax record. Yet these highway projects are contingent upon the four-tenths of a cent," said Anthony Hensley, the Democratic leader in the state Senate. Brownback's office says the governor always gives credit to his Democratic predecessor for funding the projects.

REST EASY: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy wanted to close all seven of the state's highway rest stops, but he changed his mind and is keeping all of them open, thanks to legislative opposition and public uproar, reports the Hartford Courant . The governor's plan lasted little more than a week, and the reversal came two days after a top aide said the administration would not relent. "Sometimes things change around here," the aide, Roy Occhiogrosso, told the Courant , "and they change quickly."