PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) is planning on decreasing E-ZPass discounts and increasing the toll in York to make up for millions of dollars in losses during the COVID pandemic.
In a press release, MTA said it did not collect $60 million as expected due to less traffic on the roads because of the novel coronavirus.
The following proposal or alternative measures will take effect on Nov. 1:
- Increase the cash rate at York from $3.00 to $4.00 for a passenger car and corresponding rates for remaining toll classes.
- Increase the current Maine E-ZPass rate per mile from 7.7 cents to 8.0 cents.
- Adjust the passenger car Personal Volume Discount thresholds from a 25% discount to a 20% discount for Maine E-ZPass users making 30 or more trips per month and from a 50% discount to a 40% discount for Maine E-ZPass users making 40 or more trips per month.
- Limit or eliminate image tolls (I-tolls) that count toward the Class 1 Personal Volume discount. I-tolls are created when an E-ZPass transponder is not present or not read to a valid Maine E-ZPass account.
These changes would increase annual revenue by about $18 million which would give it what it needs to complete projects, MTA said. The increased cost for in-state users is an average of about 20 cents per trip.
MTA said it has not raised tolls in nearly nine years.
“Recently, traffic on the Maine Turnpike has recovered and is nearing pre-pandemic levels,” said executive director Peter Mills. “However, the loss of revenue during the pandemic combined with new bonding constraints make it infeasible to complete future capital plans without raising tolls or adjusting discounts."
“After weighing the options, the MTA Board has determined that to defer important capacity projects would cause greater harm than to adjust tolls upward to sustain them,” Mills said.
Public Meeting Schedule
The MTA plans to hold three informational meetings to discuss the changes with the public on the following dates:
- Aug. 3 at 6:00 p.m. at the Turnpike Maintenance Facility in York
- Aug. 4 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Saco (hosted virtually, online participation available)
- Thurs. August 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ramada Inn in Lewiston
The meetings will be open to the public both in person and virtually. Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through Friday, August 20. More information on the meetings can be found here.