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Merrimack ramp tolls will stay
The House Public Works and Highways Committee voted 15-0 to recommend killing Senate Bill 3, which would have eliminated the exit 12 ramp tolls.
However, state transportation officials and lawmakers say an agreement was originally struck to add the three exits in Merrimack in return for the toll revenue to pay off the bonds to pay for the project.
Committee chair David Campbell, D-Nashua, said the state's 10-year highway improvement plan would be the best way to deal with the issue. Lawmakers will work on the plan next session.
He said the F.E. Everett Turnpike expansion project, as well as the $2 million a year diversion from the Bedford toll plaza revenue after the opening of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport access road, need to be part of the picture.
Some drivers take the airport access road exit to avoid the Bedford toll by going through the clover leaf ramps, according to Campbell, noting the department said the total diversion could grow to $5 million a year.
Lawmakers will review the new 10-year plan after the Governor's Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation makes it recommendations and send them to Gov. Maggie Hassan, who will in turn make her recommendations before sending it to lawmakers.
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