Comments for: Maine Turnpike chief says bank could end up operating road if tolls aren’t raised

Posted June 15, 2012, at 6:11 p.m.

The Maine Turnpike could become 109 miles of highway owned by bondholders and operated by Bangor Savings Bank if toll increases proposed by the Maine Turnpike Authority aren’t approved and the authority defaults on the terms of its debt, according to the authority’s executive director. The chances of that happening …

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  • Jake_OO7

    More taxes from the Lepage regime.

    • Anonymous

      the maine turnpike is not a state agency and lepage doesn’t have anything to do with the increases in tolls.

      the turnpike is owned by private companies, our “tolls” don’t go back to the maine economy, they line the pockets of the owners of the turnpike. 

      • Guest

        If you believe this, you’re more gullible than most of the middle class folk who actually think the tea pottiers are doing them well.

      • Anonymous

        They sure as hell don’t go to repairing the road.

        • The Maine Turnpike is recognized as one of the safest and high quality highways in the country.

      • Jake_OO7

        If Lepage is so tough, why doesn’t he dare to do anything about these new tax hikes.
        Typical republican, all talk no action, do as I say, not as I do.
        A tax is a tax and this is under the Lepage regime.

      • Tyke

         The Maine Turnpike Authority is an independent  State GOVERNMENT agency created by the legislature. The legislature has the full authority to dissolve that authority at any time and the MTA must have their budget approved b y the legislature very year..

        There is ZERO private ownership of the turnpike.

      • The Turnpike is not owned by private companies. It is a quasi-government state agency formed by the Maine Legislature to construct, operate and maintain the Turnpike. The Turnpike is finded entirely by tolls. Major projects (bridges, interchanges, etc. . .) are funded through bonding (i.e., borrowing money) and requires debt payment schedules to pay back bondholders. Operations and ongoing capital maintenance (paving and minor bridge repairs and rehab) are paid directly through tolls, mostly local/Maine construction contractors.

    • Oldfishergeek

       A user fee (tolls) is not a tax.  If you eliminate the the user fee, those from out of state will be riding “free” and those who seldom use the Turnpike will be supporting it.   Tolls are the “fairest” way to pay for this type of service; those who use the road pay for the road.

      • Jake_OO7

        Republicans now call taxes, User Fees when their blimp is in office. 

        • Oldfishergeek

           Sorry, but I’m a life long democrat who has never been a Lepage supporter.   Every service comes at a cost.  Some services can be paid for by user fees, because those who use the service have the ability to pay for the service and because there is no “fair” way to create a tax that apportions the service on use.  A toll road is one of those instances.  In fact most utilities (either private or public) are. 

  • Guest

    Remove the tolls, eliminate the staff, run it like every other mile of interstate in Maine.

    • Anonymous

       Common sense at it’s best. No tolls operate it like the rest of the interstate in Maine..

    • Anonymous

      Word.

    • If you prefer to turn the Turnpike over to DOT and have
      tolls removed, the Turnpike would then be supported by taxes.  It’s the understanding of the Maine Turnpike Authority that first would
      require the state to pay over $400 million in Turnpike bonds. First by asking voters
      to approve a bond issue  during a November election to first borrow the money to pay off existing Turnpike
      debt rather than simply assuming it.  Then, due to the difference in current bond ratings–Turnpike bond ratings being significantly better than the state–bond ammortization would probabaly be much higher than the Turnpike currently pays. Subsequently, the state would likely need
      to raise the gas tax by 8 or 9 cents per gallon to continue capital
      improvements and maintenance to prevent the highway from falling into
      disrepair.

       

      In the absence of such a plan, the Turnpike must continue to
      collect tolls to support itself and rectify the near future imbalance between
      toll receipts.

      • Anonymous

        We should believe the MTA because it’s run by politicians and they’re honest. Politicians don’t lie. Oh wait, Mills is a lawyer and lawyers certainly don’t lie!

        • Anonymous

          How much of this shortfall is because previous management stole from the MTA? Has anything been done to recover those funds?

      • Anonymous

        Lets see..How about everyone at the MTA take a nice cut in pay and then maybe we’ll talk..

  • Anonymous

    It’s time to turn this road over to the state. That was supposed to happen in 1981 anyway.

    • In 1982, once th initial bonds to build the
      Turnpike were paid, elected officials in the Maine Legislature passed and
      Governor Brennan signed a bill into law authorizing continuance of the Turnpike
      Authority and the tolls to operate the Turnpike.The decisions and debate
      surrounding tolls on the Turnpike are decades old and have long been decided by those outside the Maine
      Turnpike Authority.

  • Anonymous

    Tax and spend Republicans.

    • No, its the  Spend and Blame Republicans!

      Baldacci did it!

    • Anonymous

      And the tax and steal Democrats?

  • Anonymous

    Why not just close either the North or South bound sides and save 1/2 on expenses?

    Or have a bake sale…

  • Michael

    ? i thought they reduced their budget?
    http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/07/news/state/proposed-maine-turnpike-budget-reduces-spending-10-4-percent/ 

    according to their site, 60435771 vehicles took the pike. (here is where i got my data – http://www.maineturnpike.com/About-the-MTA/Traffic-and-Revenue/Traffic-by-Year.aspx
    )
    so can someone explain the logic that would relate the 2 articles? am i missing a zero somewhere? I come up with the average toll being $0.69 even before their anticipated budget decrease. 

    • Guest

      Don’t expect them to make sense!

    • Tyke

       The toll increase has been predicted and planned for years.

    • The Maine Turnpike handled just over 76 million vehicle transactions in 2011 totalling just over $101 million in toll revenue. It’s  not as simple as taking vehicle trips and multiplying by average toll. The toll structure is more complicated. For example, the average full length cash rate (Kittery to Augusta) is 4.9 cents per mile; full length Maine E-ZPass rate is 4.7 cents a mile; average cah rate per mile per cash transactions for all trips is 12 cents per mile; average Maine E-ZPass rate for all trips is 6.7 cents per mile; there is a minimum toll ($1.00 cash and 50 cents) regardless of trip length; 56 percent of trips are calculated on a rate per mile; and 2 percent of trips are free (Lewiston-Auburn-Sabattus). Simplified, tolls vary greatly. To go just one mile around Portland it costs $1 cash or 50 cents for E-ZPass yet it costs only $5 to travel the entire 102 mile trip from Kittery to mile 109 in Augusta.

    • That doesn’t inlcude the Commuter Discount Program and commercial vehicle rates.

      •  What are the increases for Commercial Vehicles going to be anyway?

  • Michael

    I really am not sure of the answer, could not find one quickly. did the MTA purchase the land themselves?

    • Turnpike land was purchased by, and is property of, the Maine Turnpike Authority

  • Eliminate ALL THE INTERCHANGE’S, put the toll booth’s on each end and you are now looking, or getting an advance preview, of what Cianbro’s E-W Highway from Coburn to Calais is going to look like and how it’s going to be operated. A real world preview is a wonderful thing, isin’t it ?

  • Anonymous

    Would someone please explain to me why the turnpike authority doesn’t charge tolls north of Augusta.  I honestly never understood this and just want to know.

    • Tyke

       Because north of Augusta it is not the Turnpike. It is the state owned Route 95 from that point north.

      • Anonymous

        actually I 95 is part of the federal highway system

        • Anonymous

          No.  The owner is MaineDOT.  The term “federal highway system” is a misnomer.  The Interstate is Federal-Aid, but so are Routes 1,2,3,4, etc.  This only means that the Federal Highway Trust Fund monies aid the states by participating in the cost of capital improvements.

          Interstate 95 is no more “federal” than Route 15 in Orrington.

          The United States government owns few roads, mainly on its own properties and in parks, etc.

          The press would be very helpful in this debate if they would quit using the term “federal highway” – because they use it incorrectly.  Is anyone at the BDN listening?

          Warren Spaulding, PE
          Former Acting Region Manager
          MaineDOT, Eastern Region
          Bangor

      • Anonymous

        Thanks Tyler. But why doesn’t the State charge tolls? Are they legally barred from doing so?

        • Anonymous

          MaineDOT would have to get approval from the Federal Highway Administration to be able to do it.  Currently, North Carolina is in the process of getting this approval on their section of I-95.

          I personally believe you will see the highways that can be tolled (in a practical sense), will be tolled before many more years, as it is a more sustainable means for financing than the Federal Highway Trust Fund/State fuel tax paradigm we have used since 1956.

          Warren Spaulding, PE
          Retired MaineDOT

    • The Maine legislature established the Maine
      Turnpike Authority in the 1940s to operate a toll highway from Kittery to Fort
      Kent. Back then, Route 1 was the main road between Kittery and Portland and was
      extremely congested. The Turnpike was financed entirely through bonds with no
      federal or state tax money and continues to operate entirely on toll revenue to
      this day. Traffic studies determined the toll highway would be built only as
      far as Augusta. The building of the Interstate Highway System in the United States happened after the Maine Turnpike was constructed. I-295 and the remainder of I-95 north to
      Augusta was a policy decision made, and financed, by the federal government and
      state government and not the Maine Turnpike Authority. The first strecth of 295
      was built in the 60s. In 1982, once th initial bonds to build the Turnpike were
      paid, elected officials in the Maine Legislature passed and Governor Brennan
      signed a bill into law authorizing continuance of the Turnpike Authority and
      the tolls to operate the Turnpike.The decisions and debate surrounding tolls on
      the Turnpike and lack of tolls north of Augusta and/or I-295 are decades old
      and have long been decided by those outside the Maine Turnpike. The only method
      to change those policy decisions is through the Maine State Legislature and Congress. The federal government prohibits tolling existing highways built
      initially with federal funds. The Maine Turnpike Authority did not plan or
      build I-295 or I-95 north of Augusta. The Turnpike is directed by state law and
      through legal bond agreements to maintain the 109 miles under its purview to
      the highest possble quality through enough toll revenue to accomplish its
      charge.

      • Anonymous

        Interesting that you had no response to MY comment.  Must be hard to try and make excuses for something that legitamately have NO excuses.  I will never vote for a bond in which money is spent frivolously with no accountability expecially after what we have seen the Maine Turnpike Authority do in the past.

    • Anonymous

      The turn pike ends in Augusta

  • Guest

    The turnpike has had bonds ever since I was a kid, and now, all of a sudden, the vulture is at the door? I am very disappointed in Peter Mills. I didn’t think he’d be just another rush it through hack. Hell, let the bank have the road!

    • Tyke

       The toll increases were planned years before Mills took over.

    • It may help to consider the environment through which bond payments have become an issue. First, consider the Turnpike widening as all
      bridges and the 3rd lane in each direction. The original portion of the Maine
      Turnpike was completed in 1947. The original bridges were entirely rebuilt, and
      borrowed for, in the 90s, both because they were 50+ years old and because
      their lengths spanned across a 4-lane highway. The abuttments/pillars were
      rebuilt with time consideratons far beyond the current 6-lane configuration to
      handle capacity of an 8-lane highway. The actual start of the lane addition(s),
      and associated borrowing occurred in 2000. When debt is taken out the payment
      schedule is compiled so the debt payment forecast matches future revenue (i.e.,
      income). The Maine Turnpike experienced an average annual traffic/revenue
      increase of 3% per year for the first 61 years of operation. For the first ime, tolls declined in 2008. We continue to be below 2007 levels and do not
      expect to meet those levels until at least 2014. When collecting about $100
      million annually and revenue drops by 3% it removes 3 million from the
      equation. That amount accumulates a great deal over the terms of debt
      repayments. Also, the bonds taken out in 2000 for the lane addition(s) were
      structured so interest only payments would be made from 2000-2007 and principal payments would kick in starting in 2008. As written above, traffic revenue
      declined that year for the first time ever which prompted some strain on
      repayment schedules and debt ratios. Fixed debt increases whether or not
      revenue keeps up. The MTA did refinance some bonds this past February resulting
      in debt service savings of $13.6 million, thereby reducing the need amount of a
      toll increase.

      • Anonymous

        I do like the idea of sources of topics of articles being able to expand online on info not included in the article(s).  Use is decreasing. interesting?  What if consumer resistance to the increases causes further decreased of use of the MTA roads? I think this type of comsumer power is just being tapped.

        • Anonymous

          I’d imagine that use of the Turnpike decreased because gas prices increased so radically in the late 2000s.  In fact, total vehicle miles driven in the entire US took a historic turn down for the first time in decades around 2008. 

          As world wide oil production continues to plateau and eventually drop, all while Chindia demands more and more oil, we can expect real gasoline prices in the US to move ever higher in fits and starts. The US may be about to experience “peak driving” and if so, the implications for things such as Maine Turnpike funding are very significant.

        • un-occupy toll roads? what a plan1

      • Ron

        The bonds were constructed as interest only payments for 7
        years, isn’t this the same deal where bankers were selling mortgages that
        resulted in so many foreclosures across the country?

  • Anonymous

    oh man, Peter Mills is usually more savvy than this…it’s very clear that Bangor Saving- or any Bank- would be loathe to take over operations of any entity, much less something as large as the Turnpike.  Banks tend to foreclose, sell or liquidate the security, take a financial hit if necessary, and move on. 

  • Anonymous

    Let ’em foreclose, they took out a loan they couldn’t afford. Why are they different than a homeowner, OH because they think they can make whatever they need for money!!!

  • Anonymous

    How about better management and cut some jobs.

    • The Turnpike Authority Board has many new members and Mr. Mills has been Executive Director for just over 1 year. Since then the Turnpike has cut its operating budget over 11%–by $4.3 million– and refinanced debt service to realize savings of $13.6 million. In addition, the Turnpike has reduced staff by hundreds of employees in the last 15 years.

  • Anonymous

    Probably the Bank will manage the Turnpike better than the Losers that are there now.

    • Anonymous

       Paul Violette is in jail.  Many board members have been replaced.  How do you know that they are losers?  I’m guessing that other than maybe Peter Mills, you couldn’t name anyone else without doing a search.

  • Anonymous

    Those damned tax and spend democrats are at it again. Can’t they run anything and not spend it into a hole? They sure have one hell of a nerve raising the tolls on the Maine Turnpike. Maybe if they weren’t so busy spending money like it grew on trees……..oh, what’s that you say. The democrats aren’t the ones running the Maine Turnpike Authority? Really? You mean LePage’s guy is the one that wants to increase the tolls. A republican? What a revolting development this is.

    • Guest

      this is a mess the dems put us in that needs to be fixed before moving forward… They dug alot of holes that need to be filled.

      •  The Turnpike runs on toll revenue and bonds. The tolls come from the people who use the Turnpike, and bonds are approved be the voters. So how is it the dems fault?

        • Anonymous

          who do you think pushes the bonds out to referendum?

          •  I could push out a referendum to put a cathouse on every corner, it would still be up to the voters to pass is no matter what party I am from.

        • Anonymous

          Incorrect on the bonds.  The Turnpike has the ability to issue its own bonds.  They do not go to vote.  They are called revenue bonds, and are not identical to the bonds that go to referendum.

          Do you ever recall voting on a Turnpike bond?  I don’t mean a highway bond.  You won’t remember doing so, because you have never done it.

          Warren Spaulding, PE
          Former Acting Region Manager (retired)
          MaineDOT, Eastern Region
          Bangor

      • Anonymous

        Republicans are in charge, can’t blame the democrats

        • Anonymous

          Is this Bush’s fault too?

  • Anonymous

    Good lord…let the bankers have it.  I’d love to see what the useless hacks would  do with an asset they actually had to manage to garner a profit.

  • Forgot to mention the difference calculated when factoring the Commuter Discount Program, commercial truck rates as well as other vehicle classes and the Commercial and Volume Discount Programs.

  • That doesn’t inlcude the Commuter Discount Program and commercial vehicle rates.

  • Anonymous

    i find it laughable that ex- executive director convict paul violette was so praised at his job to have it for so long, that this is the end result. the Maine turnpike is just a piggy bank for another gov’t run in the ground program on the backs of toll payers (a.k.a. taxpayers)  if you remove the perks, pensions, and generous benefits, then maybe that will balance they’re budget. when someone pays a toll, it should be for road upkeep, not to pay someone for not working.  the new director (elitists) sounds like the old one. 

    • how about any car with a Maine license plate pays nothing since we pay and pay and pay with our taxes all the time! Let the out of state drivers pay the tolls and raise them by 20%

  • Anonymous

    Who is hiding behind the “Maine Turnpike” name?  Peter is that you?  Using MTA equipment and sanctioned by MTA? Geez I will have to start using the Mall exit  when coming north to avoid the 295 toll. 

  • EB

    Let’s all protest on the day of the toll increase. Take Route 1. Plan ahead, leave home early…One day of no tolls should put a dent in the TP-Authority.

  • Guest

    This is what happens when you bond.  You have to pay it back.  This is what our Great Governor Paul LePage has been saying.

  • Anonymous

    How about we start by getting the money back that was stolen from taxpayers to pay for trips to Vegas…Then, maybe we can see it clear to figure out a way to make the Turnpike actually passable.  I drove down to York this past Monday and spent an hour longer on the roads staring a cones with NO WORK going on.  On the way home we faced a number of areas, on a bright and sunny day with half of the signs covered up and cones pushed to the side, and half the sign uncovered.  We didnt know if we were supposed to travel the construction speed or not.  It seems to me that this entire department of government needs to be completely overhauled much like DHHS.  Far too often money is spent without a clue what it is being spent on and no explanation to taxpayers where there money is going.  Then you have a situation like we had last year with the misuse of funds and they wonder why people dont trust the government and scream corruption.  You folks arent even good at hiding it.

    • Anonymous

       I agree…..I was on the turnpike last Tuesday and I couldn’t believe the amount of traffic cones that were warning us about construction that was NOT going on.  If I had to travel that road every day I’d be having nightmares about those cones.

          

  • “A five-axle commercial truck now pays four times the passenger vehicle
    rate. That multiplier would jump to 4.25 under the turnpike authority’s
    proposal.”

    It probably ought to be much higher considering the damage that trucks do to the highway.  Trucks weight up to 100,000 pounds and cars weigh 1,500 to 6,000 pounds. The heaviest trucks weight almost 17 times as much as the heaviest passenger vehicle. We live in a make believe world when it comes to the trucking industry.

    • Anonymous

      Good point.  And road damage varies with the square of the vehicle weight.  For example, a 2000 kg vehicle does 4 times as much damage as a 1000kg vehicle.  So when we talk about large increases in vehicle weights, we are dealing with huge differences in impact.  Maybe we could figure this into our excise tax formula.  Let those who damage the roads the most pay the most to repair them.

    • Anonymous

       The passenger car, however, uses considerable portions of the highway’s capacity, and at 12-20 ton-miles per gallon of fuel, is uneconomical compared to a truck (150-200 ton-miles per gallon).

  • Old Bear

    AWWW  is it because of  the money stolen from the account over the past few years???

    • Anonymous

      That won’t happen until PASSENGER rail can be implimented, which for reasons of economy won’t happen. Everyone knows that freight  was just a side benefit of passenger transportation, right?

  • Anonymous

    Lepage should just declare the turnpike DOT property by eminent domain…………………

  • Anonymous

    WWPVD  What Would Paul Violette Do?

    • Superuser23

      Look up the price on plane tickets to Vegas….

      • Anonymous

         Too hot in Vegas this time of year.  Perhaps Quebec City or Rome, lovely this time of year!!

  • Anonymous

    They had more money than they knew what to do with…$100 million per year to maintain 100 miles of road.  So what did they do?  They shoved through the widening project against a lot of objection so they would rack up enough debt to ensure their existance for another decade or two.

    • Anonymous

      The widening needed to happen.  The Turnpike was heavily congested and still carries a lot even with the extra lane.  Those old shoulders were only eight feet wide, too.

      Voters also voted on it, and the anti-widening folks were not completely above-board in the manner in which they framed their advertisements back in ’91. Some of them were intentionally misleading, and they took advantage of the voters’ unfamiliarity with how the Turnpike and the rest of state government get revenue.

      Maybe you didn’t want it, but I think most are glad it happened.

  • Dan Troop

    Will we at least start getting a “Thank You” from the attendants with the new increase!

  • Anonymous

    “…our (trucking) industry will be paying a significant portion of the primary toll increase at the barrier tolls…”

    As well they should!

    Can anyone say “rail freight?”

    • Anonymous

      Rail freight has its place.  Thinking that rail will replace trucking, though, is naive.  Rail works well for bulk, relatively low-value goods, that do not have to be shipped really quickly, and it works best for long distances.

      Someone might then point of that rail moves a ton of freight 400 miles on a gallon of fuel.  That is probably correct.  I’d like to point out that trucks only move a ton of freight about 150 miles on that gallon.  However, the truly uneconomical means of moving people and goods is the passenger car.  Assuming four passengers (250 pound men, or 1/2 ton) in a 25 mpg auto, that is only 12.5 ton-miles per gallon.

      Someone may point out the damage that trucks do, and that is correct.  There are only three things that reall damage a road: water, oxygen, and heavy loads.  Keep in mind, though, that highway capacity is finite, and there are several “vehicle types” that reduce capacity, and these include: trucks, buses, passenger autos, motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, animal transport, and even pedestrians.

      The world isn’t a simple place, is it?

      Warren Spaulding, PE and CDL Class A driver
      Former MaineDOT
      Presently part-time consultant and part-time CDL driver

      • Anonymous

        Warren: well said!  The world is NOT a simple place, which is why we should not rely on one simple answer.  If the question is: how do we move goods in and out of Maine, the answer should not be: a single road, easily damaged by heavy trucks.  Of course we will need trucks on the Turnpike.   But all of them?

        Lots of dry goods come into state, just think of local grocery store: bottles, cans, boxes–not refrigerated, can last several years on shelves.  If it takes two weeks to arrive in Hannaford’s warehouse instead of three days, is that a problem? No, so get all that off roads, only truck to transfer from Rail head to warehouse, to stores.   We want to create jobs right?
        What of exports–logs? via rail.  Lobsters? via air, or truck if within say 200-250 miles.  Etc.

        We have the rails, we need to keep them up, and expand.  As well as maintain the roads.

        But if we stop beating the hell out of the roads–50K, 75K even 100K pounds, they will last a lot longer, be cheaper to maintain and be safer to drive.

        But that is what would be done by an intelligent, sane society.  We instead choose to sell ourselves to the highest corporate bidders.  We all need to…

                                        -Smarten Up!

        • Anonymous

           I’d love to see better rail service.  I think 50K is too low a weight limit to be practical.  I would love to see 80K, though.  I don’t believe 100K is a safety issue (I drive them), but it is hard on the roads as we currently construct them in the USA.

          One thing we should be doing is building the highways to support weights better than we have done in the past.  Fuel is costly, and the higher weights do help in that respect.  That means more revenue is needed.  There is never a free ride.  There might be a payback – if more efficient loads are hauled, the price of goods could drop to the point of a net savings to the consumer.

          One consideration that must be kept in mind: it costs businesses money to maintain large inventories.  That is one reason trucks have an advantage over the train.  Just-in-time deliveries are more difficult by train.  If that hurdle could be overcome, the movement of goods might become better balanced between rail and truck.

          Good post, Smarten_Up.  Have a great weekend!

          • Anonymous

            Say you have a box car come into  Waterville buy train from  Bangor say it gets in the yard at 5 am now that car is in the yard till any were from 4 pm to 11pm before its shop south to Portland /. Now when the train dose leave the yard at night it goes only about 10 mph because the tracks are so bad . Ican remember when i worked at the railroad that they would hall half loads the box car would be full but half of the load would go to  Portland than the box car would be hall to Bangor to unload the other half but the people that own the railroad now will not do that now

        • Anonymous

           Build roads the way they should be build they would last much longer but that cost money the public would never go for that

  • Anonymous

    The Maine Turnpike is offering helpful comments.  Most of you would learn the history of how the Turnpike and the Interstate System have come into being.

    The Turnpike pre-dates the Interstate System.  The I-95 designation is to provide the motorist aid in navigating, more than anything else.  Until 1987, the Turnpike north of Falmouth carried no route number whatsoever, until reaching West Gardiner, where it again became signed as I-95.

    They are two different roads, funded under different mechanisms, built at different times. 

    Roads are what your tires touch.  Routes are signed pathways, which may utilized different roads.  Thinking that the route and the road are the same thing is part of what causes so much of the confusion.

    Warren Spaulding, PE
    Former Acting Region Manager
    MaineDOT, Eastern Region
    Bangor
     

  • Anonymous

    Peter Mills has done a great job of getting things straightened out at the Turnpike Authority. Think we all need to appreciatively give him a vote of confidence on this  issue.

  • Superuser23

    This is what happens when voters go approving money to be borrowed that the state never had to begin with. This is what makes everything go up, the state thinking it’s a great idea to borrow money, approve a bond by voters because the state doesn’t know how to manage the money they already had to begin with. So people go and check off the box to approve borrowing money and then, this happens……”Uh golly gee, we can’t pay back the money we borrowed, ugh we need to raise some tolls so we can have more money to pay that back and if we don’t the bank could run the tolls instead”

    Oh no wait, maybe it is not the voters fault, the state is getting money that was lost by the spending frenzy! Heck with that, find an alternative.

  • Anonymous

    With known long term capital planning, with the widening known for years, what’s with the brinksmanship “must have a rate increase” mentality here? Something is incredibly wrong with this picture.

  • Anonymous

    Mills says that the budget for bridge repairs, highway paving , and debt is $195 million over  the next five years.  Yet, the Turnpike Authority  raises  $106 million annually from tolls and service plazas which equals $530 million over the next five year period.  If I am reading this story correctly, where does the additional $335 million go — what is this money being spent on over the next five years?

  • Anonymous

    How else can they keep up their perks and gift buying and uncontrolled spending. When the fox is looking after the hen house it isnt hard to figure out where the chickens are going

  • I fully agree wth with all the people from Maine because I am from the State of Maine myself!
    The Maine Turnpike should be turned over to some one else who knows what they are doing!

  • Alice Clark Goldsmith

    I pay 1.00 at the Gardiner toll ..not 1.25.

  • Conley Raye

    They closed up several rest area’s when they could of been farmed out to independent people who could of paid a lease or rent. That was ridiculous. I don’t trust million dollar CEO’S.  Maybe Bangor Savings Bank could run it better. What one doesn’t do is Threaten all the taxpayers of the state as a group.

  • Tolls on Maine highways were never meant to be permanent, but like so many other temporary items they have just kept on keepin’ on! We need to remove the tolls completely; this would eliminate the need for costly toll booth area repairs, replacements.

  • Anonymous

    I though that Mills was going to fix every thing . Time to get rid of mills an put some else in there

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