By Associated Press - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation has proposed a 50 percent increase to tolls on state roads, the first systemwide toll hike in a decade.

The department said on Tuesday that rates for main line tolls in Hooksett and Bedford would jump from $1 to $1.50. Dover and Rochester tolls would increase from 75 cents to $1, and Hampton tolls would go from $2 to $2.50.

The exit ramp tolls in Hooksett and Hampton would see a hike of 25 cents, while Merrimack’s ramp tolls would see no increase and be eliminated in 2020.

Under the proposal, E-ZPass payment device holders would see a 35-cent increase in tolls at the Hampton, Hooksett and Bedford Tolls and an 18-cent increase at the Dover, Rochester, Hampton Side Tolls and Hooksett ramp Tolls.

A public hearing on the toll increases will be held on Dec. 4 at the Portsmouth Public Library. The Executive Council would need to approve the increases.

The department said the increases would bring in $36 million in additional revenue to speed up work on roughly 89 miles (143 kilometers) of turnpikes. Among the projects that could benefit would be several improvements along Interstate 93 including widening from Interstate 89 to Interstate 393; Exit 6 improvements and Everett Turnpike widening in Manchester; Everett Turnpike widening in Nashua-Bedford; and Exit 7 reconstruction in Manchester.

Gov. Chris Sununu said he would allow the plan to move forward in the Executive Council.

“Only in extreme circumstances do I believe that interfering with that process would be warranted,” Sununu, a Republican, said in a statement. “While I oppose toll increases, I respect the Council’s chartered responsibilities and have asked the councilors to consider holding an additional public hearing focused on allowing citizens to weigh in on this specific proposal.”

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