The Maine Turnpike has announced a proposed toll increase that would go into effect this fall that might come as sticker shock for some people.

During the COVID-10 pandemic, people were traveling a lot less as due to quarantines and restrictions on travel. Visitors who normally would be coming to Maine for the summer were staying home and that translated to fewer people traveling on the highways which in turn translated to less revenue for The Maine Turnpike Authority.

In a press release posted to the Maine Turnpike website, the Turnpike Authority announced that they collected $60 million less in revenue during the pandemic than they had projected. So they are hoping to make up the loss with an increase in tolls. But just how much are we talking about here?

The most obvious increase is for cash-paying customers at the York tolls. The current $3 toll will be going up to $4. That's aimed right at the tourists. There will be less of an impact for Mainers that have an E-ZPass, the electronic toll-taking device that mounts to your windshield and automatically deducts your toll from your account.

Maine E-ZPass users would see an increase from 7.7 cents a mile to 8 cents a mile. The current 25% discount for Maine E-ZPass drivers who take 30 or more trips per month drops to a 20% discount and the 50% discount for drivers making 40 or more trips per month drops to 40%.

The Turnpike Authority says that the new toll rates would cost Mainers on average 20 cents more a trip.

If you don't have an E-ZPass, you probably ought to get one, even if you only travel on the Turnpike occasionally. Not only will you save over the cash price, but you also get the benefit of open-road tolls where you still travel the speed limit while paying your toll. You'll find these in New Gloucester, Falmouth, West Gardiner, and Scarborough with new ones scheduled to open by the end of 2021 in York and a second in West Gardiner. Your E-ZPass will also work at the open-road toll on I-95 in Hampton, New Hampshire.

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