The Maine Turnpike must raise tolls two years from now for many reasons. As a union negotiator pointed out in his opinion piece of Nov. 19 (“Turnpike workers: Don’t blame us for 2013 toll increases”), one primary reason is to make bond payments for the 2004 widening and other capital projects.

However, the actual amount of the toll increase, how soon the turnpike will need it and the public’s acceptance of it will also depend on the turnpike’s ability to control costs, including labor costs.

Contract and management costs are already being curtailed.

The turnpike has reduced future operating budgets by more than 10 percent. Consulting and legal costs have been reduced or eliminated. Certain engineering functions have been brought in-house.

Salaries for managers are now comparable to those of state government, where the scale is below market. My own salary is 20 percent lower than that of my predecessor and I carry no benefits. We have eliminated the deputy director’s position.

Major goods and services are now procured through competitive bidding. Travel, dues and sponsorships have been curtailed. Underwriting costs for the next bond issue have been cut by 40 percent.

The turnpike must be as frugal as we expect of any other public agency.

We have hundreds of good people at the turnpike who work hard and love their jobs. I am confident that our negotiating team can achieve a labor agreement that will balance the interests of workers and the toll-paying public.

There are sound reasons to retain the turnpike as an independent agency; but to be worthy of public trust, the turnpike must remain transparent and accountable.

Peter Mills is executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority.