Pike Toll Hikes Raise Curiosity About Alternatives
As gas pricing are falling, thousands of drivers are about to pay more for tolls on the Mass Pike. Sean from Natick is curious. “Why is it fair that one group of drivers pays for Big Dig debt? Everyone should pay or no one should pay.”
WBZ’s Ron Sanders took your questions on tolls to the Governor.
“There isn’t any way around, in the short run, a toll increase,” he told Ron.
But Governor Patrick said a radically simplified turnpike bureaucracy is the long-term solution. He has a plan to eliminate most tolls outside Route 128, divide control of the pike between Massport and Mass Highway and dismantle the turnpike authority.
Its board voted last Friday to hike tolls at Weston and Allston/Brighton to $2 and double harbor tunnel tolls from $3.50 to $7. So it’s the east-west commuters you would find at places such as the rest stop in Natick who will be forced to spend $250 to $500 more a year to help pay for Big Dig debt and maintenance.
“And you don’t think raising the gas tax is a good alternative?” Ron asked commuter Charles Steinmetz of Auburn. “No. it’s going to affect people who don’t take the Pike everyday.”
“Either way, we have to pay more,” said Charles Belonwu of Randolph.
“What about the gas tax?” Ron asked the Governor. “Look…I’m not hostile to the gas tax, let’s put it that way. It’s not my first choice. It’s a tough time to be talking about any broad-based tax increase.”
Eric of Chelmsford is curious and asks “Why aren’t there tolls at the New Hampshire borders on 93 and Route 3?”
“What about tolls at the New Hampshire or Rhode Island borders or the South Shore?” Ron asked the Governor.
“Look, all of that is, or ought to be, on the table.”
The Governor says he wants to hear other voices and ideas, but does not think he and legislature can provide equitable toll relief before the hikes would take effect in late winter or early spring after a series of public hearings.
Use Google to get from point A to point B without having to pay tolls. Visit Google Maps, click on “Get Directions” then click “Show Options” and select “Avoid Tolls.”
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