New Tolls

LFDA Editor

Significant shortfalls in two of the state's larger transportation projects could lead to increased tolls. 

On July 12, 2013, Department of Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement said there won't be enough revenue from tolls in the Spaulding Turnpike fund to finish the current $260 million project to widen the roadway between Exit 1 in Portsmouth and the Dover tolls.

The lack of about $80 million could jeapardize the Dover end of the project, which includes widening the current four-lane road into eight-lanes, the remaking of Exit 6, the installation of soundwalls along a residential area of the road, and the creation of a roundabout on Route 4, replacing a traffic light at the intersection with Spur Road and Dover Point Road.

Clement said the two options to fund the rest of the project are a toll hike or a "pay-go" method of doing pieces of the remaining contracts as funds become available.

Concerns with a reported $1.3 billion revenue shortfall in the state's 10-year transportation plan have similarly spurred the call for new tolls along I-93.

Meanwhile, one of the three tolls along the Everett Turnpike in Merrimack was removed on July 18, 2014. 

Tolls at exit 10,11 and 12 were constructed in 1989 as part of a deal that brought the the city of Merrimack nearly $50 million of road improvements related to industrial development. $22 million in long-term bonds still needs to be paid off for the Merrimack upgrades between now and 2022, reports the Nashua Telegraph.  Merrimack residents argue that the Everett Turnpike tolls are unfair since other communities have not paid for infrastructure improvements with tolls. 

The removal of tolls at Exit 12 is related to the passage of SB 367 - a bill calling for the increase of the state's gas tax. During negotiations in the Legislature, the bill was amended to include the toll closure. Demolition of the toll plaza is expected to cost the state $560,000.

Opponents of new tolls often argue that drivers will divert from the highway, clogging local roads. Opponents have also argued that new tolls would discourage tourism to New Hampshire. Supporters of new tolls, however, argue the money is crucial to fund bridge repairs, road maintenance and other needs. 

PROS & CONS

"For" Position

"Against" Position

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Signed by Governor

This bill provides that a person having the exclusive right to use a vehicle pursuant to a court order following a final hearing on the merits is the vehicle’s owner for purposes of electronic toll collection.

Signed by Governor

Establishes a commission to study revenue alternatives to the gas tax for the funding of the state’s highways and bridges

Killed in the House

Establishes a committee to study the feasibility of privatizing the New Hampshire toll system

Killed in the House

Removing all tolls in Merrimack

Signed by Governor

Increasing the gas tax by four-cents per gallon, and removing the toll at Exit 12 in Merrimack

Killed in the House

Removing the tolls at Exit 12 in Merrimack

Should NH increase tolls and/or add new toll booths?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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AGAINST
REPRESENTATIVES

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Issue Status

In September, the DOT proposed increases to several NH tolls as part of its Ten Year Transportation Improvement Plan. The plan has not yet been approved. 

Rep. Franklin Tilton has proposed a bill (HB 1568) that would levy an additional road toll, prepaid at the time of registration, on alternative energy vehicles. Similar proposals have been floated in other states as a means of making up gas tax revenue lost by the use of more fuel-efficient cars. 

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