Tolls increase Nov. 1 on Maine Turnpike

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Friday, October 26, 2012

Truckers will pay more to travel the Maine Turnpike because of an increase in the base rate that goes into effect Nov. 1. The action of truckers helped avoid a larger increase back in August when the Maine Turnpike Authority was discussing the issue.

A five-axle truck will continue to pay four times the rate of passenger vehicles as it has in the past. That means the $1 increase for cars on parts of the Maine Turnpike amounts to a $4 increase for truckers starting Nov. 1.

One of the options considered by the Maine Turnpike Authority’s board of directors back in August would have increased the truck multiplier from 4.0 to 4.25 times the passenger vehicle rate. That means the same $1 increase for cars would have boosted the truck rate by $5.

That extra buck may have seemed trivial to some, but it was enough to stir the trucking community in Maine and urge a vote against the 4.25 multiplier.

“Truckers said, if you raise the passenger rate and raise the multiplier, you’ll essentially be hitting us twice, and that seemed to resonate with the board,” Maine Turnpike Authority spokesman Dan Morin told Land Line on Friday.

“If you raise the toll $1 down in York to get on the turnpike, by definition, you’re (already) raising it $4 on a cash-paying 18-wheeler,” he added. “That resonated with the board and they unanimously decided to keep the multipliers where they were at.”

Another trucking issue that the turnpike board heard from truckers was the lack of good-paying backhauls out of Maine once out-of-state trucks delivered their loads.

Morin said the turnpike board used that as rationale to maintain a freeze on the truck multiplier.

“It’s not like we’re Kansas or Illinois, where you pick up a load on the way through,” Morin said. “I would assume that there are a certain amount of trucks that come here with a load and leave here without a load just because of the nature of us being the end of the line. The board was pretty sympathetic to commercial trucks because of that reasoning.”

Like many states in the Northeast, Maine discounts toll rates for E-ZPass users. In addition, larger fleets can get volume discounts depending on the number of trips they make.

Rate tables and comparisons among vehicle classes are available at maineturnpike.com.

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