August 19, 2013

Another View: Reducing rates for turnpike commuters is unfair to others

Why should drivers have to pay more per trip just because they don't travel more often?


I cringe when I see a letter or a column supporting something the writer is connected with, and cringe even harder when it comes from someone in charge of the same.

Such is the recent letter from Peter Mills, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, which is something that is contrary to the theory of evolution ("It's worth cost of turnpike to reach destination on time," Aug. 13).

The Maine Turnpike Authority should have been done away with years ago and combined with the Maine Department of Transportation. I have to conclude that the MTA is just as permanent as a temporary tax.

I find the reduced rates for E-ZPass users based on more trips on the turnpike discriminatory. Why should someone pay less per mile when they are using the turnpike more frequently and causing even more wear and tear? If that is the case, then every veteran who travels the turnpike and is reimbursed for traveling to a VA facility should receive a discount as well. After all, the Department of Veterans Affairs is using taxpayer dollars for these travel reimbursements.

I used to get on the turnpike in Gray when I traveled to the Togus Veterans Hospital in Augusta. I now take Route 100 to Auburn and then get on the turnpike, thus saving taxpayers $4.50 per round trip rather than being reimbursed that sum of money. The savings are actually higher because I also drive for other veterans who receive travel reimbursements.

P.S. I wish I owned the company that makes all those orange-colored barrels used on the turnpike in construction zones where work seems to go on forever.

Lane Hiltunen is a resident of Windham.

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