Vehicles travel Friday afternoon along the Maine Turnpike as it passes over Alfred Plourde Parkway at the Exit 80 interchange in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

For the first time in nine years, the Maine Turnpike Authority will hike its tolls starting in November.

The increase will bring in more than $17 million annually, officials said, and help make up the $60 million financial shortfall caused by less traffic during the pandemic.

Among the changes going into effect Nov. 1 is an increase in the toll for passenger cars passing through the new toll booths in York from $3 to $4.

Peter Mills, the authority’s executive director, said at a public hearing the York increase alone will generate more than $14 million in additional revenue, with people from other states paying 87% of it.

The authority is also raising the Maine E-Z Pass rate by 4% from 7.7 cents per mile to 8 cents per mile. Other fees also are increasing.

New tolls on the Maine Turnpike take effect on Nov. 1. Maine Turnpike Authority

Overall, Mills said, about 71% of the higher tolls would be paid by people and companies from other states.

The authority had planned to increase tolls in 2028, but decided to do it sooner to offset the revenue decline created by less traffic starting in March 2020 when COVID-19 smacked the economy and kept people home.

Officials pointed out that the agency opted to push forward with all of its planned improvements, despite the sinking revenue, in order to provide jobs and do what it could to keep Maine’s economy alive during a rough period.

Mills said staff members looked at “a broad range of ways that tolls can be adjusted” before settling on ones that brought in enough revenue and put as little burden as possible on Mainers.

About half of the nation’s toll roads increased their fees during the pandemic and nearly 90% of them have hiked tolls since Maine’s last increase in 2012, Mills said.

Mills said that the Maine Turnpike continues to have one of the lowest rates per mile of any U.S. toll road.


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