The York Board of Selectmen voted this week to take $25,000 from its contingency account to prepare for an upcoming hearing before a state board regarding the town’s dispute with the Maine Turnpike Authority over the York toll plaza project.

Robert E. Palmer Jr., the board’s chairman, said the selectmen voted to appropriate the funds Monday night. Palmer said the funds will be used to defend the town’s position in a courtroom-style hearing, complete with expert witnesses, at a future Maine Board of Environmental Protection hearing. The hearing has not been scheduled yet.

Selectmen and a citizens group called Think Again – Stop the York Toll Plaza Relocation want to replace the existing York toll plaza with an all-electronic fee-collection system, but the turnpike authority wants to build a $40 million toll plaza 1½ miles north of the existing one. Turnpike officials are proposing a 15-lane plaza with a mix of cash booths and electronic pay lanes.

The existing plaza has safety and operational problems and building a new plaza at that spot is not feasible, according to the turnpike authority.

Think Again spokesman Marshall Jarvis disagreed Tuesday evening, arguing that an all-electronic system, like the one operating on the Massachusetts Turnpike, will reduce accidents and automobile pollution. Motorists would simply drive under a camera gantry. E-ZPass users would be charged automatically while other drivers would have their license plates photographed and would receive a bill in the mail.

“There would be no slowing down, no stopping and no lane diversions,” Jarvis said. “It would reduce air pollution, noise pollution and eliminate accidents.”

Peter Mills, executive director of the turnpike authority, told the Portland Press Herald last year that an all-electronic fee-collection system would result in a significant revenue loss, presumably because it would be difficult to collect fees from non-E-ZPass users.

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