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May 28, 2010 | last updated December 1, 2011 6:37 am

State launches turnpike authority probe

A state oversight office has launched an investigation into the performance of the Maine Turnpike Authority, after a preliminary review raised questions over the authority's revenues.

The Office of Program Evaluation and Governmental Accountability is looking deeper into MTA's operations after a two-month-long review that ended in April determined the authority had not provided any revenue to the state since the mid-1990s, according to Seacoast Online. MTA is required to transfer to the Maine Department of Transportation annually any operating surplus, according to the Sensible Transportation Act. MTA in the past has said that $40 million in bonds it issued to fund DOT bridge projects and payment on those bonds has replaced its annual payment.

OPEGA also plans to scrutinize MTA's bond rating and relationship with bondholders, how MTA spends its toll revenues and to what extent the authority is overseen by other agencies, according to the paper. A final report is expected sometime in the fall.

The Legislature's Government Oversight Committee called for the investigation last year, after a number of bills intended to increase accountability at MTA died in committee. Rep. Dawn Hill, D-York, co-chair of the committee, told the paper the authority operates with "no oversight." An MTA spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Go to the article from Seacoast Online >>

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