New Hampshire targets tech to allow toll booth removals

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New Hampshire lawmakers have approved a 10-year transportation plan that would expand electronic tolling.

The bill, which passed the state Senate and House of Representatives Wednesday, would authorize the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to implement all-automatic tolling “if feasible.” The measure also would fund construction of electronic tolling or open road tolling plazas on the New Hampshire Turnpike system.

Gov. Chris Sununu called passage of the bill "good news for New Hampshire's taxpayers" in a statement Wednesday.

The long-range transportation plan from 2019 to 2028 would use around $11 million of turnpike funds to construct and implement all-electronic tolling at the existing Dover and Rochester toll plaza locations. The Department of Transportation would also be authorized to create all-electronic tolling at the existing Bedford mainline toll plaza using roughly $15.3 million of turnpike funds.

Neighboring Massachusetts set up electronic tolling in late 2016 for the Massachusetts Turnpike, Tobin Bridge and the Ted Williams and Summer/Callahan Tunnels. New York State also rolled out a $500 million automatic tolling initiative at Metropolitan Transportation Authority-operated bridges and tunnels in 2017. The Dallas North Tollway became the first toll road in the U.S. to implement electronic toll technology in 1989.

In addition to tackling a future of automatic tolling, the New Hampshire transportation measure also establishes a committee to study the removal of tolls on exits 10 and 11 on the F.E. Everett Turnpike in the town of Merrimack. The legislation additionally explores public-private partnerships by designating $100,000 of turnpike funds for consultant services that provide “expert advice” and services during the development of requests for proposals for P3s that impact the turnpike system.

The passed measure did not include $4 million for a federally funded study of adding commuter rail system linking Manchester and Nashua to nearby Boston that House members had sought.

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Toll revenue bonds Transportation industry State of New Hampshire New Hampshire