Toll break for Merrimack?

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Toll break for Merrimack?

Postby joe179 » Thu Dec 28, 2006 10:03 am

From today's Union Leader:
Zip code 03054: Tolls could be programmed to offer cheaper rates for residents.

Technology could give Merrimack motorists the reduced turnpike tolls they've sought, according to Debora Pignatelli.
Pignatelli said an E-ZPass discount could be fashioned for people who live in town, automatically discounting tolls when residents use Merrimack exits on the F.E. Everett Turnpike. She spoke as the state Depaartment of Transportation has started to circulate a draft of it's Merrimack Equity Study, a comprehensive evaluation of the fairness of the New Hampshire toll system...
Pigantelli said removal of the tolls is not very likely, considering the lost revenue that would entail. But an E-ZPass discount might work, she said.
"We may be able to ask for special tratment for people in the 03054 (zip code) area, to give them passes to get a super discount. We have the technology to that now," she said. "I am looking at the wording of the study and I think it might give me the ammunition to do that." ...


I wonder what the super discount will amount to? I wonder why Ms. Pignatelli is working on this considering she was instrumental in the elimination of the proposed Nashua tolls (which created the inequity we now live in). I also wonder if, considering how the tolls have been historically levied, the state will even consider this and work towards a discount.

For now, I'll go with the following comment from a recent Union Leader article:

Merrimack residents might rejoice over several bills to pull the toll booths off the F.E. Everett Turnpike. Hold the champagne. We've been through this before.
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Re: Toll break for Merrimack?

Postby Ann Goldman » Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:13 pm

joe179 wrote:From today's Union Leader:
Zip code 03054: Tolls could be programmed to offer cheaper rates for residents.

Technology could give Merrimack motorists the reduced turnpike tolls they've sought, according to Debora Pignatelli.
Pignatelli said an E-ZPass discount could be fashioned for people who live in town, automatically discounting tolls when residents use Merrimack exits on the F.E. Everett Turnpike. She spoke as the state Depaartment of Transportation has started to circulate a draft of it's Merrimack Equity Study, a comprehensive evaluation of the fairness of the New Hampshire toll system...
Pigantelli said removal of the tolls is not very likely, considering the lost revenue that would entail. But an E-ZPass discount might work, she said.
"We may be able to ask for special tratment for people in the 03054 (zip code) area, to give them passes to get a super discount. We have the technology to that now," she said. "I am looking at the wording of the study and I think it might give me the ammunition to do that." ...


I wonder what the super discount will amount to? I wonder why Ms. Pignatelli is working on this considering she was instrumental in the elimination of the proposed Nashua tolls (which created the inequity we now live in). I also wonder if, considering how the tolls have been historically levied, the state will even consider this and work towards a discount.

For now, I'll go with the following comment from a recent Union Leader article:

Merrimack residents might rejoice over several bills to pull the toll booths off the F.E. Everett Turnpike. Hold the champagne. We've been through this before.


Joe,
I wouldn't complain about Ms Pignatelli. Had she not killed the Nashua toll we would be paying twice to go Massachusetts. Once in Merrimack and once at the border. The Nashua toll was not going to eliminate the Merrimack toll. At least she kept our tolls from doubling.
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Postby joe179 » Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:39 pm

My issue is that the elimination of the toll booths in Nashua was based on:
The general court recognizes that building additional toll booths create safety concerns and pollution issues. The general court also recognizes that more toll booths detract from the New Hampshire scenery and negatively impact the New Hampshire tourism industry.


Do we not have the same issues in Merrimack? Don't the toll booths detract from the scenery here a bit more than they would have in Nashua? I believe the elimination of the tolls in Nashua was New Hampshire politics being played at their best. Unfortunately Merrimack was the sacrificial lamb and now there is this toll reduction scheme to sugar coat the whole issue.

If you think about it, the majority of people who pay the Merrimack tolls are most probably residents of zip 03054. As the state has repeatedly asserted that the elimination of our tolls would result in undesireable budgetary impacts, why would they support a reduction--- a reduction being termed a "super discount"??

So my question is: why didn't Ms. Pignatelli tie the elimination of the toll booths in Nashua with elimination of the toll booths here when she helped sponsor Senate Bill 387?

My only hope is that as we have had a change in control at the Executive Council, perhaps Ms. Pignatelli is planning to push for this to fly up in Concord once and for all. Only time will tell the outcome. Until then, I will take this toll reduction business with a stone of salt...
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Postby Ann Goldman » Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:52 pm

Hi Joe,

When the Nashua tollbooth was killed, Debra only represented Nashua and worked to help Nashua. She was not elected to help Merrimack. She didn't start addressing Merrimack until she was an Executive Councilor with Merrimack as part of her representation. When Bernie Streeter was Exec Counc. he ignored Merrimack and never tried to help us at all.

There has always been favoritism shown to the cities that have the most voting power. Merrmack has never been big enough to warrant consideration. We are not as big as Nashua or Manchester therefore we get the shaft.
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