There’s trying, and
then there’s trying too hard. New Hampshire’s turnpike authority is now
officially the latter.
To help tout its new
E-ZPass toll system on the turnpike, Gov. John Lynch and the turnpike’s
executive council set the price for transponders – which every vehicle must
carry to use the system – at $5.
So what’s the
problem? Well, nothing, except that the cost of a transponder is actually $27,
which has caused the state to cover the $22 difference, according to The
That cost, coupled
with two other key factors, has left the state with a rather hefty bill – a $4
million bill, the Boston Globe reported. The key factors in the equation
- unexpected public response resulting in
100,000 E-ZPass transponders already being purchased since they became
available in mid-June; and
- the fact that many drivers who bought
the $5 transponders don’t travel the toll routes every day and therefore
don’t contribute large amounts of tolls to help offset the costs.
adding to the red-ink column for the venture is the $5 to $6 it costs the state
to maintain each E-ZPass account per month.
“You present numbers
that are staggering,” said Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, during questioning of
Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray before the state’s Senate.
However, Murray said
the department’s budget problems predate the implementation of E-ZPass, and
that this new debt represents “minor money” in the department’s overall
financial situation, the Globe reported.
“Long term, we’re OK, but next year is tight,” Murray said. “The next
year is scary.”
The state Senate voted to increase the cost of the transponders after
more research is done on the system.
– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer