New Hampshire is tapping the brakes on its first system-wide highway toll hike in a decade.
The proposed hike, which would increase most of the state’s highway tolls between 25 and 50 cents, was scheduled to come up for a vote Wednesday at a meeting of the state’s executive council — an elected body that approves of various state policies and contracts.
But Governor Chris Sununu announced Tuesday morning the council has agreed to remove the proposal from the agenda, to allow for more time for public input.
“Removing this proposal from the agenda will provide Granite Staters the opportunity to make their voices heard,” Sununu said in a statement.
Sununu’s office said no new date has been set for a vote.
The Republican governor had already voiced disapproval of the plan, but previously said he wouldn’t stand in the way of the vote. But the toll increases have met with a chorus of criticism in the state, culminating in an editorial Tuesday from the New Hampshire Union Leader that labeled the hikes “outrageous” and imploring Sununu to “take a stand.” Though not a member of the executive council, the governor can set the panel’s agenda.
Made by a Republican member of the executive council, the proposal would increase tolls by 25 to 50 cents at most booths. The highest, at Hampton, would go to $2.50 for passenger cars. The additional revenue, $36 million a year, would pay for road work, and state officials said more than half of that amount would be shouldered by out-of-state drivers.
New Hampshire residents who pay tolls frequently would get a discount — 10 free tolls once they paid 40 over a month — when using a state-issued transponder.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.