LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Turnpike Authority is considering raising its toll rates by 26% to pay down debt from a widening project and other bonds.
Under the proposal favored by MTA staff, the York toll would be raised from $2.00 to $3.00, the New Gloucester toll $1.75 to $2.50, and West Gardiner would be raised from $1.25 to $2.00.
Some residents in Lewiston-Auburn say the New Gloucester toll hike in particular would put them at an economic disadvantage, especially since the twin cities are situated between a toll to get south to Portland and another toll to get north to Augusta.
"This creates a further barrier for them to get down to Portland in the south, or even north where there are jobs," Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald said. "Also, we have people up here that have jobs there. Now, you're going to take more money out of their pockets."
Maine Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills says he understands there are concerns about proposed toll hikes, but he says Lewiston and Auburn are not the only cities that would see an increase.
"I think Lewiston needs to understand that at the very beginning of the pike at York, we're proposing putting a dollar onto that toll to raise it from $2 to $3 which is a substantial increase," Mills said.
The MTA will be holding a series of hearings in coming weeks to take public input on the proposed toll hikes. For more information about the proposal and hearings, click here.