Maine Turnpike Authority proposes toll increases to offset pandemic losses
PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - The Maine Turnpike Authority is proposing increasing tolls for drivers to offset revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MTA said it took in $60 million less in revenue than had been projected because of decreased traffic.
The turnpike authority receives all of its revenue through tolls.
“The turnpike does not receive any federal or state tax money at all. We did not get any COVID relief funds. So, we are on our own in this regard. What we collect from those using the road is how we fund the future maintenance of that road,” Maine Turnpike Authority Public Outreach Manager Erin Courtney said.
The proposed changes include increasing the cash toll at the York Toll Plaza from $3 to $4 for passenger cars and corresponding increases for larger vehicles.
The plan calls for increasing the Maine E-ZPass per mile rate from 7.7 cents to 8 cents.
The MTA wants to adjust the personal car E-ZPass volume discount threshold for cars making 30 to 39 tips per month from 25% to 20%. The discount for 40 or more tips per month would decrease from 50% to 40%.
The MTA said its proposed changes would generate an extra $17.3 million in toll revenue.
“We lost the money because traffic declined. Traffic is coming back. It’s almost there, but it’s not enough to make up $60 million over time,” Courtney said.
Officials said out-of-state drivers will pay for about 71% of the increase, and the increased cost for in-state travelers will be about 20 cents per trip.
The MTA is planning three public meetings in August for people to weigh in on the proposal. Online comments will be taken until Aug. 20 before a final decision is made.
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