Tolls on the Maine Turnpike are most likely going to increase on Nov. 1, but one member of the turnpike board says the amount commercial trucks will pay is still up for discussion.
The Maine Turnpike Authority’s board of directors met Thursday, July 19, to discuss options for toll increases they’ll be voting on Aug. 2.
“I made a strong case to the board to maintain the existing toll structure for larger vehicles,” said Robert Stone, a turnpike board member from Auburn.
A five-axle truck currently pays four times the rate for automobiles. In other words, if an automobile pays $5, a loaded truck would pay $20 at the same tollbooth.
“Management of the turnpike had proposed (the multiplier) to go to 4.25, and to eliminate a 20 percent discount they offer for those classes of vehicles,” Stone told “Land Line Now” on SiriusXM.
“I don’t know where it’s going to end up when the full board meets, but there seems to be some conversational support for that.”
Stone says the authority that runs the 109-mile turnpike had been seeking an additional $26.5 million in toll increases on top of the approximately $100 million the authority currently takes in each year.
During discussion, the board looked at an alternative plan that puts off some improvements and reduces the additional amount the turnpike seeks to $21 million.
Stone spoke of the value of keeping toll rates reasonable for truckers.
“Eighty to 85 percent of the goods that come into the state come from the commercial trucking industry,” he said.
“The last thing we need to do is add another $2 million to their expense load. I do not want the Maine Turnpike to become an impediment to economic development in the state of Maine.”
OOIDA issued a Call to Action in mid-June to urge members to attend public hearings and make their voices heard about the toll increases.
“Among the most important points to make to officials is the enormous burden an increase will put on small businesses,” the Association stated in an email to members in Maine.
“Land Line Now” Staff Reporter Reed Black contributed to this report.