Thursday, November 21, 2013
AUGUSTA — The Maine Turnpike Authority says it took in nearly $20 million more in toll revenues over the last year.
The figures released Thursday show that $122 million was generated between Nov. 2012 and 2013. That's up from about $102 million the year before.
The 19.3 percent increase is about what officials had projected after raising the tolls last year. They say the funds will cover the turnpike's operating budget and maintenance.
Traffic also remained flat from the previous year if not for a December 2012 with 28 inches of snow, 11 more than average, one the worst snow Februarys in history and teh 7th wettest June in record. in fact, october 2013 was the best month of the past year.
Just a terrible tragedy. Our thoughts go out to all the family and friends affected. The Maine Turnpike focuses on motorist safety each and every day as outlined in this recent Sun Journal story. Despite the recent fatality in Falmouth we take great pride in our safety record and efforts.
It was a truly unfortunate incident. The Maine Turnpike Authority offers its heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the family and friends affected by the tragic events which led to a person's death. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of first responders, including other motorists, MTA employees, emergency response crews and the Maine State Police.The safety of everyone on the Turnpike is always our top priority and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all motorists arrive safely to their destinations.
Sarcasm may be my personal favorite well from which to pull responses . . . outside of my professional duties of course . . . I appreciate any comments about Turnpike operations, including yours. It allows me to provide additional background for various issues. Enjoy the the trip through on Monday.
Thanks Wayne. We are focused on our communications to avoid last minute lane changing. Multiple radio and print ads have been in place for the past month attempting to inform Turnpike users about the changes. We're expecting sign placement to greatly assist drivers as they position themselves for the toll plaza approach. The good part is that all toll lanes throughout the Turnpike accept E-ZPass so those drivers won't need to change if they end up in the right "Any Vehicle" lanes. Hopefully, those cash payers who end up in the E-ZPass lane will just drive through as we're asking and contact us to pay the tolls. After that first experience they'll likely be more aware of the process for subsequent trips.
Secondly, good insight by you on right-of-way issues. The New Gloucester toll was the perfect place to first implement this type of tolling. there were no footprint issues to be addressed as there were/are/may be for the York toll plaza.
Actually Paul, crashes and incidents have been reduced nationwide in places where toll agencies have transitioned from traditional toll plazas to concrete barrier separated highway speed lanes. We're confident that will continue with the new New Gloucester toll plaza.
Tony. It's not only for the convenience but will lower future operating and maintenance costs of the E-ZPass system and help with commercial fuel costs and vehcile emissions the more people use E-ZPass tolling. The electronics for E-ZPass are over 15 years old and much like home PCs become old and functionally obsolete. The parts for E-ZPass throughout the Turnpike are no longer available and the actual operating system needed to be changed--similar to past versions of Microsoft Office, for example, which become unusable because system updates are no longer supported. To coincide with that operating system replacement and upgrade, it was more cost effective to rebuild the toll plaza itself to prepare for what tolling has, and will continue to, become. Highway speed tolling is now an option where it was not 15 years ago. It's also good for commercial trucks relative to fuel savings as they burn more fuel slowing by 40 to 50 mph hour to travel through narrower traditional toll booth lanes and then ramp back up to 55 to 65mph.
Great point Penny. There's always been an underground tunnel so toll collectors can safely get to and from the booths. It runs right under the E-ZPass highway speed lanes.
Thanks for the story LSJ & Mr. Taylor and thank you to the vast majority of Turnpike travelers for driving safely and with caution.
I did want to add a few comments. The Turnpike runs north from mile 1.9 in Kittery (Spruce Creek Bridge) to Augusta. Also, the median guardrails consist of segments of metal railing supported by posts and blocks. They are designed to absorb energy during crashes rather than the more rigid concrete barriers which may result in more severe injuries when struck by vehicles.
James. What is your typical trip to see family and do you have an E-ZPass? The E-ZPass rate for Maine customers will increase only 1 cent per mile on November 1.