There are three turnpikes in New Hampshire, where drivers may have to pay one or several tolls: the Blue Star Turnpike (more commonly known as Interstate 95), the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 16), and the F.E. Everett Turnpike (Route 3/Interstate 93). Toll rates for a standard two-axle vehicle — like a passenger car — range from $0.50 to $2.00, with discounts offered for New Hampshire residents with an E-ZPass transponder.
The $1.9 billion ten-year transportation plan for 2019-2028 does not include any proposed increases in those tolls, nor does it call for new tolls.
"Open road" tolling in NH
New Hampshire currently has "open road" or high-speed toll lanes at two toll plazas: Hampton and Hooksett. Drivers with an E-ZPass transponder can drive through those lanes and pay their toll electronically without slowing down. There are still manned toll booths at both of those plazas where vehicles without an E-ZPass transponder can pay the toll.
With all-electronic tolling, all toll lanes are converted to "open road" — no manned booths are present. Those passing through would either use E-ZPass transponders to pay or would be mailed a bill based on a scan of their license plates. In Massachusetts, where many toll plazas have been converted to all-electronic tolling, those using the pay-by-plate system are subject to a higher toll rate.
The latest New Hampshire transportation plan budgeted for all-electronic tolling to be implemented at the Dover and Rochester toll plazas. (The state is still considering whether to switch the Bedford toll plaza to all-electronic tolling, or open road tolling with some manned booths.)
Concerns over privacy raised by this change were addressed in the transportation plan with a requirement that the Department of Transportation give people the option of using an anonymous transponder — one they could fund and use without it being linked to any of their personal information.
Tolls at exit 10,11 and 12 of the Everett Turnpike were constructed in 1989 as part of a deal that brought the city of Merrimack nearly $50 million of road improvements related to industrial development. Long-term bonds still need to be paid off for the Merrimack upgrades, which is estimated to happen in 2022. Merrimack residents argue that the Everett Turnpike tolls are unfair since other communities have not paid for infrastructure improvements with tolls.
The Executive Council voted to eliminate the charge at the exit 11 Everett Turnpike toll starting January 2020. That will leave only the exit 10 toll on the Everett Turnpike.
There are no new tolls currently included in the state's transportation plan.
Opponents of new tolls often argue that they would push drivers to divert from the highway, clogging local roads. Opponents have also argued that new tolls would discourage tourism to New Hampshire.
Supporters of new tolls, however, argue the money is crucial to fund bridge repairs, road maintenance and other needs.