Maine turnpike projected budget $4.3 million less than this year

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AUGUSTA — Officials at the Maine Turnpike Authority on Tuesday presented to lawmakers on the Transportation Committee a 2013 budget with a 10.4 percent reduction in spending from the current year.

MTA Executive Director Peter Mills told the committee that reforms at the agency had achieved millions in current and long-term savings. The spending plan dropped from $41.8 million in 2012 to $37.5 million in 2013.

Mills told the legislative panel that the quasi-state agency booked $2.2 million in savings due to a decrease in employee salaries. Some of that savings was tied to reduced overtime expenditures for Maine State Police troopers who patrol the turnpike.

Also included in the savings is the elimination of outside lobbying services for the MTA.

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Last year, the agency spent a considerable amount in outside lobbying, some of it preparing and testifying in front of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. The panel was charged with reviewing an investigation by the Legislature’s watchdog agency, which found questionable spending practices at the MTA. 

Those practices prompted lawmakers to adopt a bill reforming the MTA.

Mills also told lawmakers that the agency was refinancing its bond debt. That, he said, would create a projected savings of $13 million over the life of the bonds.

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to continue to work on the MTA budget Thursday.

smistler@sunjournal.com

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