L. McCarthy: Remove toll barrier

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Mr. LePage, tear down this wall.

That’s what Ronald Reagan would say about the Maine Turnpike’s New Gloucester toll barrier. It is an unfair barrier to the Lewiston-Auburn area’s economic development and employment opportunities. It would be the perfect middle-class tax cut.

Warehousing, manufacturing, trucking, housing and tourism are all hurt by this regressive tax — $1.75 to go to Portland and the airport; $2.75 to get back.

What genius came up with that?

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Now the Maine Turnpike Authority plans to spend millions of dollars on a new New Gloucester toll booth to steal money more efficiently. Tear it down and save money.

Let us pay a buck at the on-ramp to enter the turnpike, like everyone else; add a bit to the tolls at either end and let E-ZPass even it out. All Mainers will pay less.

Let’s take advantage of our location, not be penalized by it. We are “The Hub of Maine”; “Downtown Vacationland.” There are great opportunities and great challenges to face, even without an unfair toll tax structure.

The Oxford Casino opens this year. Get rid of the toll barrier and give us an even chance. People will stay in L-A, shop in L-A, and play west, north, east or in L-A. Look at the map and see what might happen. The railroad import terminal and free-trade zone exist already. Help make Androscoggin County thrive again by making the turnpike toll system fair.

Lawrence McCarthy, Mechanic Falls

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