Maine Turnpike Authority Proposes First Toll Hike in 9 Years
The Maine Turnpike Authority said it lost $60 million in toll revenue because of the pandemic and wants users to make it up with a "toll adjustment" in the fall.
The proposal includes raising the cash toll at the York Toll Plaza from $3 to $4 and increase the current Maine E-ZPass rate per mile from 7.7 cents to 8.0 cents. Tolls have not increased on the 300-mile Turnpike in nine years.
"Recently, traffic on the Maine Turnpike has recovered and is nearing pre-pandemic levels," Executive Director Peter Mills said in a statement. "However, the loss of revenue during the pandemic combined with new bonding constraints make it infeasible to complete future capital plans without raising tolls or adjusting discounts."
The Turnpike Authority said it continued projects despite the shortfall by tapping $106 million in reserve funds.
71% of the increase will be paid by out-of-state users, according to MTA officials.
Other proposed increases include:
- Adjust the Class 1 Personal Volume Discount thresholds from a 25% discount to a 20% discount for Maine E-ZPass users making 30 or more trips per month and from a 50% discount to a 40% discount for Maine E-ZPass users making 40 or more trips per month.
- Limit or eliminate image tolls (I-tolls) that count toward the Class 1 Personal Volume discount. I-tolls are created when an E-ZPass transponder is not present or not read to a valid Maine E-ZPass account.
Three public hearings will be held about the toll increase— Tuesday, August 3 at 6 p.m. at the Turnpike Maintenance Facility in York; Wednesday, August 4 at 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Saco; and Thursday, August 5 at 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston.
The meeting on August 4 will also allow for online comments.
The New Hampshire and Massachusetts Turnpikes have not raised tolls because of the pandemic. The New York Thruway, Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway all hiked tolls within the past year.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH