AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee has voted against launching a review of the proposed 26 percent toll increase on the Maine Turnpike.

Members voted 7-2 to take no action on a request from Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, to have the proposal reviewed by the Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability.
Craven and Rep. Andrew Boland, D-Sanford, were the only members of the committee to support a review and vote against the motion.

Maine Turnpike Authority Peter Mills spoke to the committee and assured members the toll increase was unavoidable and fully expected based on a debt payments schedule that was set years ago. Mills also said the MTA’s board members are considering ways to minimize the toll increase burden on residents in the Lewiston and Auburn region who have complained they pay an unfair share.

While Craven said she wanted a review of the inequities in the toll structure, other members said the turnpike authority has a public review process in place to address it.

The turnpike authority will hold at least two more public hearings in the coming weeks and could vote on a toll increase plan on July 19.