Letter: High-speed toll plazas cost Mainers their jobs

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In Melanie Sochan’s recent article about a new Maine Turnpike open-road toll plaza in Scarborough (“Work begins in Scarborough on high-speed turnpike toll”), she did not address the question of how many toll-taker jobs will be eliminated or have already been eliminated by E-ZPass. The cost of this automated tolling is $17.4 million. At a guesstimate salary package of $50,000 per year, that money could support almost 35 toll-takers for 10 years.

These are Maine jobs that can’t be subcontracted to other countries. These are jobs that support Maine families and, through the multiplier effect, help support the Maine economy. I’m guessing that any human work that needs to be done to run and service the automated plaza, after some real humans build it, will be capable of being sent to any country in the world where the population has broadband and a passing familiarity with the English language. I wonder if this is primarily for highway safety, pollution control, and efficient, speedy travel, or if it is simply to take away jobs from hardworking state employees who provide a human face and voice to greet travelers entering and leaving the state.

I’m willing to slow down to save a job. Does anyone else feel that way?

Michael Fasulo
South Portland