Memorial Day Weekend travellers got to see something new this year – a toll booth in New Hampshire with no traffic backed up on either side.

EZ-Pass customers were able to cruise through the toll barrier at near highway speed, paying their tolls  without even rolling down their windows.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation unveiled the first open-road tolling system in New England for the holiday weekend, and plan to open it permanently this month.

Travelers from Maine can only wait for their turn to have a similar system installed on the Maine Turnpike.

Issues raised by neighbors have delayed the process of modernizing the current York toll booth. Proposals for four options that include doing nothing, making changes to the existing facility or building in two other locations are now before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Turnpike opponents have argued in favor of the do-nothing option, claiming that Maine should just wait until an emerging all-electronic tolling system could be deployed.

Under that system, an EZ-Pass account is charged when a car drives through the toll area. Cameras would record license plates, and people without accounts would be billed and fined.

Mainers interested in the tolling options should take a look at what has been done – and not done – in New Hampshire. The open-road tolling system is very similar to what has been proposed for the Maine Turnpike. Two lanes in each direction are reserved for EZ-Pass customers to pass through at normal speed. Cash customers would exit and pay tolls at traditional booths. The new tolls can accommodate 2,200 cars an hour, as opposed to 400 cars per hour in a manned toll booth.

New Hampshire did not opt for all-electronic tolling for the same reason that Maine officials say it wouldn’t work here. About half of the users of  both highways are from other states, and even if they could be sent a bill, the state cannot make them pay.

That would mean the drivers with accounts would subsidize the ones without them, creating an incentive for scofflaws.

Maine’s toll modernization is still several years away, but if Maine drivers want to get a glimpse of what the future could be, they don’t have far to travel.