Maine governor wants to abolish Turnpike Authority

| Thursday, February 24, 2011

Paul LePage, the outspoken governor of Maine, told a recent town hall gathering that he would like to abolish the Maine Turnpike Authority and roll the authority?s duties into the state DOT.

His statements followed a Jan. 28 report that uncovered gift-card giveaways, lobbying, restaurant tabs and other discouraged uses of turnpike funds by the Maine Turnpike Authority.

An abolishment measure would require a vote by the Maine State Legislature.

LePage is not the only one to pitch such an idea in recent years.

In 2009, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill into law that abolished MassPike and rolled operations into a new transportation department.

State lawmakers in Pennsylvania have pitched a similar idea, but their bill has not passed.

In the summer of 2010, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue integrated North Carolina Turnpike Authority operations into the state DOT but the authority was not technically abolished.

The Maine Turnpike Authority, created in 1941, operates the 109-mile Maine Turnpike and 20 interchanges from Kittery to Augusta.

A full-length trip for a five-axle commercial truck costs $20 in cash or $19.20 with E-Zpass.