Change is in the air, and it’s leaving the toll booths.
That’s because the Maine Turnpike Authority is looking to go cashless. Highway officials in the state told the Portland Press Herald on Wednesday they are looking at electronic collection systems.
Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills told the Press Herald the authority is taking less cash at toll booths because of more and more drivers adopting E-ZPass. Cash tolls made up more than three-quarters of the turnpike’s revenue 20 years ago. That number fell to 15% last year.
The authority does not have a hard deadline of when it plans to eliminate cash tolls. It also doesn’t have a plan to replace them, and Mills said it could be four years or more before cash collection is gone.
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Maine’s move away from cash is part of a national trend. The International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association has said 55% of all tolled miles are cashless.