‘Everything has to move on’: As Md. bridges, tunnels go cashless, toll collectors look beyond the booth

On the road home after the holidays, thousands of Marylanders and other interstate drivers will meet Beth Orefice and her coworkers so briefly they won’t have a chance to shake hands.

But the 55-year-old Fort McHenry Tunnel toll collector and her 84 remaining colleagues around the state won’t be taking drivers’ cash much longer.

Maryland is approaching the end of a decades-long shift toward automated tolling at its bridges and tunnels.

Tolls on the Francis Scott Key and Thomas J. Hatem bridges went cashless in 2019, and the Maryland Transportation Authority expects to do the same with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge this year. The Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge in Southern Maryland, which is being replaced, will go cashless when the new bridge opens in 2023, officials said.