Toll increase vote pushed down the road

Transportation | Sununu wants more public input.

CONCORD – The proposal to increase highway tolls by 50 percent is being pushed off the Executive Council’s agenda.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that the proposal will not go forward on Wednesday’s agenda for the Council. He said the New Hampshire Department of Transportation made the request. It is estimated the toll increase would bring in an additional $36 million to fund highway projects.

“Removing this proposal from the agenda will provide Granite Staters the opportunity to make their voices heard,” Sununu said.

If it does got through, this would be the first statewide toll hike in a decade.

The rates for tolls in Hooksett and Bedford would jump from $1 to $1.50, under the proposal. Dover and Rochester tolls would increase from 75 cents to $1 and Hampton tolls would go from $2 to $2.50.

Nashua would benefit if the rate increase is approved, according to the NHDOT, with the Everett Turnpike between Nashua and Bedford being widened using part of the $36 million raised by the increase. Among other projects that could benefit would be several improvements along Interstate 93, including widening from Interstate 89 to Interstate 393; Exit 6 improvements and Everett Turnpike widening in Manchester; and Exit 7 reconstruction in Manchester.

Under the plan, the exit ramp tolls in Hooksett and Hampton would see a hike of 25 cents, while Merrimack’s ramp tolls would see no increase and be eliminated in 2020.

The E-ZPass payment device holders would see a 35-cent increase in tolls at the Hampton, Hooksett and Bedford tolls and an 18-cent increase at the Dover, Rochester, Hampton Side tolls and Hooksett ramp Tolls.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or or @Telegraph_DF.