I almost fell out of my chair when I read what Maine Turnpike employees get for pay and benefits (“Turnpike agency asks workers for concessions,” Nov. 15). It is simply outrageous!

The list includes toll takers’ starting pay at $16.23 per hour, triple overtime on holidays, no contribution by employees to their health care, four hours’ pay for call outs, with some employees getting 32 hours of call-out pay in one day.

I dare you to visit their headquarters in South Portland. Trust me, money was no object when they built that golden palace. How about this: Dissolve the fat-cat Maine Turnpike Authority and hand that 100 miles of gravy train road over to the Maine Department of Transportation.

When it ain’t your money, you spend it like it ain’t your money, right, Paul Violette?

Larry Davis

Hallowell

 

In reply to “Turnpike workers: Don’t blame us for 2013 toll increase” (Maine Voices, Nov. 19), I say to them: Don’t blame management either!

Why do turnpike employees “need” to get paid triple time for holidays, have a guaranteed locked-in pay increase of over 3 percent each year for the next three years, get paid four hours minimum if they are “called in” and get to roll over vacation and sick time? Because they are not willing to give up any of their “entitlements” and expect more.

I have a very simple solution for Mr. Mills and the MTA – dissolve the Maine Turnpike Authority.

Take down the tollbooth and hand the portion of Route 95 from York to Augusta over to the DOT and let the DOT manage Route 95 like they do so well from Augusta to Houlton.

The Maine Turnpike was supposed to be a temporary organization (until the road was paid for). I think we have paid for the 110 miles from York to Augusta a few times over, so let’s get rid of the Maine Turnpike Authority. I wonder what the MTA workers will say (or do) once they realize they have “entitled” themselves out of a job due to their greed.

Tom Spencer

York

 

Managers dodge blame as MTA employees take heat

 

It seems as though attacking the compensation of workers as the “issue” is popular and convenient. But more appropriately, it is negligent.

Peter Mills is supposed to be restoring the credibility and effectiveness of the Maine Turnpike Authority. If widening the turnpike is necessary, it should be based upon increased traffic flow. If there is increased traffic flow, it generates additional tolls to pay the costs.

It is no more than a cheap shot to blame workers, who do the best job in New England at maintaining our road, as cause for toll increases. Again, cherry-picking the wages for the most senior collectors as an example of the average wage is a misrepresentation of the truth. The average collector earns far, far less and works under difficult conditions.

So if Peter Mills wants to restore the image and effectiveness of the turnpike, he should not be lying about the reasons for tolls. How much money is paid the top 10 executives, who do nothing for turnpike users?

When I am returning home from working in Kittery, and it is snowing, I know the turnpike will be open and clear. When I look up into the plow trucks, it is not Peter Mills or any shirt and tie who I see! Who I do see is who is valuable to me!

Give the workers a fair deal and the respect they deserve for holding the turnpike together while the administration continues to define incompetence! Balance revenue by ending discounts for E-ZPass and treating all users equally!

Ernie Canelli III

Fairfield

A healthy environment needs everyone’s support

 

Now is the time to be an active conservationist. We have a moral obligation to our children and their progeny to work for a better world.

We can reduce the waste stream by recycling.

We can reduce our carbon footprint by not leaving engines running, not using more than is necessary, using tap water rather than bottled water.

We can home garden and compost.

Welcome aboard to all who choose to become environmentalists.

Frank Kramer

Scarborough

 

Snowe and Collins: Wrong priorities on jobs bill vote

 

I would like to respond to Gary Phillips’ and Everett Perlman’s questions as to why our two senators voted against the president’s jobs bill (Voice of the People, “Senators should have backed jobs bill,” Oct. 22).

In an effort to understand their vote, you must recognize their priorities:

First priority: Get re-elected.

Second priority: Get the money to be re-elected.

Third priority: Work with your national Republican Party so they will help you get re-elected.

Fourth priority: Work with the lobbyists so they will give you the money to be re-elected.

Fifth priority: Work with your state Republican Party so they will work for you to get you re-elected.

Now somewhere far, far, far down the line, our two senators will vote as the people’s representatives, if and when it is not too painful.

I hope this explains why our elected officials do not represent the majority of the people.

T.L. Davis

Bath