Maine Turnpike Plaza Plans Face Leery Locals
The existing Maine Turnpike (I-95) toll plaza was built in 1969. It was expected to last 25 years. Unfortunately, the Authority built the facility on wetlands; it’s sinking at a rate of about an inch a year. Finding an alternative site has been… problematic. For one thing, the southern end of the Maine Turnpike is littered with wetlands. For another, the proposed “dry land” location is meeting stiff local opposition. According to The Portland Press Herald, York residents don’t want the $35m toll plaza. "They're taking out our neighborhood," says Michael Walek. Walek says a crash at the toll plaza involving a chemical truck carrying chemicals– or a chlorine leak at the local treatment plant– would endanger hundreds of lives. "You certainly couldn't evacuate a backed-up highway like we get in the summertime." Suggestion: Just tear down the plaza that’s sinking, tighten the budget belt and call it good.
Forget where they put it, $35 million for a toll plaza is just an obscene waste of taxpayer money. Do the math, it's about $2 million per booth. This is just one of the many reasons MTA should be abolished. This is an organization that treats themselves to fancy dinners with $295 bottles of wine, at our expense. Last year they spent $26,000 to send 5 people to Vienna to learn how to collect tolls (no irony there). Currently spending millions of dollars ($4.8 million to be exact) for high-speed EZ Pass in the middle of nowhere (New Gloucester) for no good reason (noise reduction - who cares - the cows?) As a Maine taxpayer and frequent Turnpike user, nothing would make me happier than to see the whole MTA organization disbandeded and every thieving MTA bureaucrat out on the streets looking for new jobs.
With apologies to the Monty Python cast: "When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a toll plaza on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest toll plaza in all of New England."
Oh yes, keep in mind this is an agency that maintains about 100 miles of road, total.