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An Editorial - Joseph W. McQuaid, Publisher: Toll hike plan sticks it to the taxpayers

New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher

November 28. 2017 8:59PM

The Bedford toll plaza on the F.E. Everett Turnpike on Nov. 24. (Allegra Boverman)

The day after Thanksgiving was “Black Friday.” Two days before, in Concord, it was “Stick It to the Taxpayers Wednesday.”

That’s when Department of Transportation boss Victoria Sheehan and members of the Executive Council got together to grease the skids for a mind-blowing $750 million in new and accelerated public works projects.

They don’t think you are paying enough for all the projects that are already budgeted, bonded, and scheduled. They intend to jack up the price you pay at the tolls — by 50 percent! Go through the Bedford and Hooksett tolls and a round trip will cost you not the $4 it does now, but $6.

The DOT says 55 percent of tolls are paid by out-of-staters. Meaning we get stuck with “only” 45 percent?

Not really. A lot of out-of-state tolls are paid by commercial traffic, which is going to pass the cost on to the grocery stores and businesses to which it delivers goods. And they will pass it on to guess who?

What are Republicans thinking? The GOP just gave Gov. Chris Sununu a truly balanced budget that slows spending and cuts business taxes. And now the councilors and bureaucrats want to take even more money out of your pocket.

Good for Councilor David Wheeler, who called this “garbage” and denounced the way it is being snuck through during the holidays.

We understand Councilor Joe Kenney also opposes this; but not so-called Republican Russell Prescott, who is being praised by Democrats for this spending grab.

Democrat Councilor Chris Pappas, now running for Congress, may think Prescott’s role gives him cover, but it won’t. Pappas is already being tagged as E-ZPass Pappas.

As for Gov. Sununu, he needs to step up and kill this public-spending monstrosity and give taxpayers a truly Merry Christmas.

Transportation Travel and commuting State Government Front page editorial

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