Panel suggests shorter terms for Turnpike Authority board

Posted May 05, 2011, at 11:20 a.m.
Last modified May 05, 2011, at 4:57 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee is suggesting cutting Maine Turnpike Authority board terms from seven years to four.

The Government Oversight Committee voted Thursday to send a letter to the Transportation Committee, which is due to take up a bill next week incorporating numerous changes in how the toll highway is administered. The authority is under scrutiny after an audit uncovered thousands of dollars in lavish expenses and gift cards.

Oversight committee member Donald Pilon, a Democratic state representative from Saco, suggested cutting the turnpike board terms. He says having seven-year terms has created “an old-boy network.”

On Tuesday, the Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on a bill to make several changes in turnpike administration. Numerous reforms already have been implemented.