Merrimack tolls expected to be eliminated Jan. 1

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation The Merrimack tolls at Exit 11 on the Everett Turnpike.

CONCORD – It looks like the Merrimack tolls will be eliminated starting Jan. 1 after a vote Wednesday by members of the Executive Council in their role as the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Intermodal Transportation.

The 4-to-1 vote was to prepare a resolution before the Nov. 25 Executive Council meeting to eliminate the cost of going through the Merrimack tolls. Councilor Michael Cryans, D-Hanover, was the no vote.

The Executive Council will have the final say at that meeting as long as Republican Gov. Chris Sununu puts the resolution on the agenda.

And it’s very likely that Sununu will because he issued a news release on Tuesday calling for the elimination of the Merrimack tolls.

Democratic Executive Councilor Debora Pignatelli has been working on the Merrimack tolls issue since 2004. She was thrilled that they will very be gone soon.

“This is the first time I have three councilors to pass this so I am really pleased for the Merrimack folks,” Pignatelli said.

Pignatelli thanked state Senator Shannon Chandley and the Merrimack Town Council for their hard work to help make it happen.

Pignatelli and Sununu had exchanged words previously over remarks Sununu made stating that she favored raising tolls.

Republican Executive Councilor Russell Prescott said the resolution will set the Merrimack toll price at zero. The toll buildings will still be there, he said.

It would require a change in state law to remove them, but the council can set the toll cost at zero.

“It’s been a long time coming and needs to happen right away. The people of Merrimack have been isolated,” Prescott said, adding they need free access to the F.E. Everett Turnpike. “It’s a fairness issue,” Prescott said.

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