Peter Vigue, chairman and CEO of Cianbro the big construction company based in Pittsfield Maine is a one-man private tollroad entrepreneur and public outreach man for the east-west tollroad he has long been proposing. He's currently on a speaking tour of places along the route, addressing meetings of 700 or more - a mix of pros, antis and the simply curious.
When wrongdoing surfaces and the bad guy says he's sorry you're usually tempted to the cynical "Sure you're sorry, you are sorry you got caught." But in the case of Paul Violette, the longtime CEO of the Maine Turnpike, that's plain wrong. The guy gives every indication of genuine remorse, of feeling very bad about what he did, not just that he was caught.
Paul: sorry to hear your continuing legal problems. I thought that you were plain dumb the way you handled the southern toll plaza issue. And of course I wrote that. You completely underestimated some smart and quite reasonable critics down in York - plus their experienced industry consultant - with your stubbornness in insisting on the flashy new ORT+cash toll plaza.
Legislation providing $300,000 for a feasibility study of the Maine East West Toll Road (MEWTR) has passed both houses of the state legislature and is expected to be signed by the governor shortly.
In Ohio the legislature has approved Governor Kasich's request for $2.6m for consultant studies of how to get best value out of the Ohio Turnpike - whether to sell, concession, P3 or privatize it, and how.
And up in Maine the Governor Paul LePage and senator Doug Thomas are pushing studies of the old idea of a 230 mile east-west tollroad Calais to Coburn Gore. That's seen as a project for investors.
It could provide a shortcut for trucks and other vehicles between Nova Scotia and Quebec/Ontario.
Little York Maine doesn't only bring down state Turnpike chiefs and force the state toller to think seriously about highway speed cashless tolling.
It also makes great jams.
This we discovered at a little shop two blocks away from where we live and work here in a little northern Maryland town between Washington DC and Harrisburg PA.
Paul Violette's lawyer says the longtime head of the Maine Turnpike is prepared to plead guilty to charges by the state attorney-general of thievery amounting to some $10,000 so long as the state doesn't ask for more than five years in jail - an eight year sentence with five years to be served. The charges carry a maximum of ten years served in jail.
His lawyer says he wants to "get this behind him."
Paul Violette, the 23-year executive director of the Maine Turnpike now has a criminal charge to face - felony theft of gift cards, travel, meals and other personal indulgences on the Turnpike's account. The AP is reporting this from the state attorney-general's office. A spokesman is quoted as saying the charge specifies thievery of "more than $10,000."
Apparently Violette is pleading guilty.
Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire have agreed to treat one another's toll violators according to local toll enforcement rules. The agreement provides for end-of-the-line sanctions when motorists who have used tollroads fail to pay tolls, ignore late notices and violation fees.
Maine native and toll systems engineer Daryl S Fleming has previously worked as a consultant to the town of York and advised them that all-electronic tolling (AET) is the most cost-effective collection mode for the controversial toll plaza there at the southern end of the Maine Turnpike. He argues here against the idea of doing a hybrid open road toll in the center with cash-to-the-sides (ORT+cash) at the existing plaza: