E-ZPass gets cheaper

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PORTLAND — The Maine Turnpike Authority dropped the price of its E-ZPass transponder boxes Wednesday from $25 to $10, part of a deal with the box maker that will also lead to the release of a new, smaller version of the transponder this summer.

MTA Executive Director Peter Mills said he hopes the decrease will boost E-ZPass use.

In Maine, 140,000 cars are linked to accounts. Currently, 62 percent of turnpike revenue comes from E-ZPass customers.

“There are other authorities that are in the 70s range,” Mills said.

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At some exits, such as Exit 48 in Westbrook, during rush hour “People are backed up trying to pay their $1,” he said. It becomes a traffic hazard issue.

Depending on miles traveled, users either receive a discount at toll plazas or pay the same as cash drivers. Someone passing through the York plaza and exiting at Wells would pay 80 cents, Mills said. A driver paying cash at York pays $2.

Kapsch, the company with the new contract to supply the windshield boxes, will roll out a smaller version of the transponder in June. It fits in the same spot as the current model and has a similar life expectancy, eight to nine years.

People who bought a unit for $25 in the last 90 days will receive a $15 credit, Mills said.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

This story was updated at 10:17 a.m.

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