Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maine Turnpike: Friend of Foe?

The Maine Turnpike Authority -- a "quasi-state entity" with a virtual monopoly on overland travel to the rest of the Union -- has been locked in a battle with the Town of York over a controversial plan to rebuild the state's most important toll plaza.

Critics say they've got their heads in the sand and are building an expensive plaza with obsolete technology. Some would like to see the Authority merged with the Maine Department of Transportation, and wonder how it came to be separate in the first place. There's concern that our tolls are perhaps inflated because they are not being spent wisely.

The Turnpike is the subject of my Talk of Maine column in the new issue of Down East magazine, in stores and online now. As you'll see, the Turnpike's corporate-cum-government structure does raise eyebrows, but their defenders' arguments generally hold water.

[UPDATE, 5/27/10: Rep. Dawn Hill, who didn't make herself available for an interview with me, has announced a probe into the Turnpike Authority, including how it is overseen and whether its resources could be used for state highways. (Notice Maine's media has been scooped on this by a paper in New Hampshire.)]

No comments:

Post a Comment