Bill would restructure Turnpike Authority in wake of gift card controversy

Posted May 04, 2011, at 11:08 a.m.
Last modified May 04, 2011, at 9:52 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Turnpike Authority would undergo changes and be required to share more of its toll revenues with the state under a bill proposed in the Legislature.

The bill addresses some of the issues revealed in a report by the Legislature’s accountability office, which uncovered lavish spending and more than $160,000 in gift cards that couldn’t be accounted for. The authority’s longtime director, Paul Violette, resigned in March.

The Portland Press Herald says the bill would require Senate confirmation for the authority’s director, force the agency to submit detailed budgets of all spending and require that most contracts be awarded through competitive bidding. It also would make the authority transfer 5 percent of its annual operating revenues to the Maine Department of Transportation.

A public hearing is scheduled next Tuesday.