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Board postpones vote on Maine Turnpike toll hikes

The board on Thursday came up with a plan that would delay some of the turnpike's major capital projects so that the necessary toll increases would amount to $21-$22 million a year, not $26 million.

The Associated Press

7/20/2012

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Turnpike Authority on Thursday postponed voting on a plan to increase tolls on the 109-mile highway.

At its regular meeting at the authority's Portland headquarters, board members voted to defer a vote until August.

Under the authority's initial proposal, rolled out in early June, turnpike officials were seeking a 26 percent toll increase to raise an additional $26 million a year to cover the turnpike's operating budget, maintenance and long-term debt service.

The board on Thursday came up with a plan that would delay some of the turnpike's major capital projects so that the necessary toll increases would amount to $21-$22 million a year, not $26 million. Those capital projects that could be pushed back include rebuilding the turnpike interchange in Lewiston, upgrading the Gray interchange and the York toll plaza, and replacing signs.

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If that plan is adopted at the Aug. 2 meeting, proposed toll increases would be reduced at certain locations, said Dan Morin, a spokesman for the turnpike authority. He said board members feel the initial proposed toll increase was too large during the downturn in the economy.

The authority has been considering 10 different options on how to increase tolls.

The preferred option, which will change under the new scenario, was to add $1 to the toll plaza in York, 75 cents in New Gloucester and West Gardiner, and 50 cents each at the Wells northbound and Gray southbound toll plazas. E-ZPass rates would also go up.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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