A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Maine Turnpork Authority Gets Audited

The Maine Turnpork Authority, the high-rolling, quasi-private corporation that owns a lucrative monopoly on virtually all of Maine's interstate commerce, is being audited by a state oversight agency following its controversial plans to spend $50 million on a new tollbooth. From seacoastonline.com:

AUGUSTA — A government oversight office that scrutinizes the accountability and performance of state government agencies has begun a significant probe of the Maine Turnpike Authority...

Among the key concerns detailed in the preliminary report, OPEGA [the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability] determined the MTA has not provided any revenue to the state since the mid-1990s. Under the terms of the Sensible Transportation Act, which Ashcroft said was passed at that time, the MTA is to transfer to the Maine Department of Transportation annually any "operating surplus."

"There is a lack of clarity about why MTA no longer transfers any funds to MDOT annually despite the statutory requirement and whether the state even still expects to receive any surplus," the OPEGA staff wrote in the preliminary report.

The fact that the Turnpork Authority has been hoarding funds to capitalize new tollbooths in the midst of multi-billion dollar shortfalls in state government should raise serious concerns for legislators.

What's more important, schools or fast food service plazas?

1 comment:

Colin Woodard said...

Your readers have probably already seen this, but just in case, some additional context: