PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Tolls would go up, but not as steeply under a proposal given preliminary approval by the Maine Turnpike Authority's board Thursday.
The board voted 5-2 in favor of the plan, but Turnpike staff members are going to check their numbers to make sure the plan will raise $21 million before the board takes its final vote August 16. Executive Director Peter Mills also is being asked to write up a clear statement explaining why the toll changes are being made. The proposal as it now stands increases the York tolls by $1, and the tolls at West Gardiner, New Gloucester, Gray and Wells by 50 cents. EZ-Pass rates, which are calculated by the mile, would increase by 10 percent, and the multiplier for commercial vehicles would go up by .25.
The Turnpike Authority first proposed steeper tolls at New Gloucester and West Gardiner and a bigger increase in the EZ-Pass rate. But staff realized there were some construction projects that were being delayed that the MTA did not need to budget for right away. They were able to drop the total amount of money that needed to be raised from this toll hike from $26 million to $21 million.
Mills says the increase is necessary because bond payments are coming due on the Turnpike's widening project in Southern Maine.
The toll hike is scheduled to be put in place in November.