Maine E-Z Pass Users Upset with Looming Changes
Fri, 09/14/2012 - 9:16pm
Posted by matt8888
An estimated 23,000 regular Maine Turnpike E-ZPass users received letters last week alerting them that their commuter plan will be replaced by a volume based discount plan beginning Nov 1. Although the shift away from the commuter plan program is expected to negatively affect only about 2,000 customers, MTA spokesman Dan Morin said, those customers are responding to the letter with outrage.
That is quite the spin. Only 2,000 customers negatively affected? Tolls are going up for everyone, doesn't that negatively affect 23,000 Mainers?
Although these changes will bring in $26 million in new revenue for the turnpike, it will also remove $26 million dollars out of the Maine economy. Maine people are experiencing price increases throughout the economy, rising oil, gas, food, ezpass, prices all take money out of the pockets of consumers and businesses.
Among low-to-moderate-income households that do own cars, they drove about 10,000 miles and spent about $1,500 on motor fuel during 2010 when the average price of gasoline was about $2.80. Gas prices are now about $3.80 a gallon. Every dollar increase, holding the number of miles driven constant, would cost these moderate- and lower-income households an extra $530 per year. For a family with an annual income of $20,000, this is an additional 2.7% of their total income. Although higher gas prices eventually encourage consumers to cut back on driving or switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles, in the short-run they may have few options but to cut back on other expenditures in the family budget. Since low- and moderate-income families’ spend most of their income on average, in the very short run they can only choose between spending less on other items and going further into debt. In addition, less spending on other items operates much like higher taxes in slowing an incipient recovery. In other words, higher gas prices drain purchasing power from the economy. That means that these families get hit twice: once by the direct impact on their household budgets but a second time when higher prices retard the economic recovery.
Now replace the word "gas" for "toll prices" If people are going to spend more on tolls, they will spend less purchasing goods. Simple as that.
Maine open for business? LOL. Good luck finding customers.