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Tale of the toll bandits: Taking NH for an expensive ride

December 03. 2017 3:15AM

The Bedford toll plaza on the F.E. Everett Turnpike on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)

The brass of three state Executive Councilors is breathtaking in how they are trying to squeeze even more money out of New Hampshire drivers and consumers via a huge hike in toll rates. The public needs to say no.

Councilors Chris Pappas, Andru Volinsky and Russell Prescott know just what they are doing, however. They and bureaucrats at the Dept. of Transportation cooked up this plan so that it would be released on the day before Thanksgiving. They want it on their agenda for this Wednesday, hoping to ram it through while the rest of us are busy with family and holiday preparations and work.

They are no doubt hoping this busy time will keep the public away from the single public hearing on the matter (apparently called for at the last minute) to be held tomorrow (Monday) at 6 p.m. at the Portsmouth Public Library.

Why Portsmouth, by the way? Why not in the capital or in one of our two biggest cities?

This bunch would prefer that you not realize that your tax dollars have already funded the state's current 10-year highway plan and that your money is also going for such huge projects as the Interstate 93 widening. They certainly don't want to remind you that current and future projects are being paid for by the gasoline taxes you pay -- or that they were just increased in 2014.

They would also have you forget that the new state budget just returned millions of dollars to towns and cities for road repair.

New Hampshire Motor Transport's Bob Sculley makes an excellent point about the claim that we taxpayers can afford another rate hike because our toll rates are lower than the national average.

"I don't know why we have to constantly apologize for being prudent and frugal and doing things that make a lot of sense. The same argument was used to raise the gas tax. We're on the low end, so it's OK to raise it.''

We shouldn't apologize. But we had all better let Gov. Sununu and these toll bandits know that we are watching them.

Economy Transportation State Government Editorial

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