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More Than 1,000 Former Mass Pike Workers, Retirees Get Free EZ Pass Tolls

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BOSTON (CBS) – Did you know more than 1,000 former Massachusetts Turnpike workers and retirees are allowed to ride through tolls for free?

The Boston Herald exposed the practice back in 2009 and a recent Herald inquiry found it’s still going on.

Before the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority was taken over by the state Department of Transportation, all turnpike employees were given what’s called “non-revenue EZ Pass transponders.”  In other words, they didn’t have to pay for tolls.

MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes said the privilege was taken away “little-by-little” over the years, but some were allowed to keep it and were “grandfathered in” when the Turnpike Authority was dissolved.

“Today there are 667 either active Turnpike Authority employees or former Turnpike retirees who have that privilege. In addition to that there are another 372 active toll collectors,” Verseckes told WBZ NewsRadio 1030, who “would also get a non-revenue transponder. The difference is they don’t get to keep it.”

Verseckes said MassDOT has “ended the practice of making these available to anybody else other than those that were grandfathered in under the statute.”

The free tolls cost the state approximately $69,000 in lost revenue the last six months, according to estimates by Verseckes.

Once open road tolling finally begins in Massachusetts, several toll collectors are expected to lose their jobs.  Verseckes said they won’t get to keep their transponders.

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