By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe ShortsleeveBy Joe Shortsleeve

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts State Police have opened an investigation into actions by their own troopers following questions raised by the I-Team. Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says it involves a secret roadway and it’s costing taxpayers.

We all hate paying tolls, especially leaving Logan Airport at the entrance to the Ted Williams Tunnel. It’s $3.50 for passenger cars but the I-Team found a select few are not paying a dime.

Yes, it’s true. Not everyone has to pay. The I-Team watched car after car bypass the airport tunnel toll.

So where is this secret road? It runs right next to the Ted Williams toll plaza and is supposedly restricted to authorized vehicles. It bypasses the toll and puts a vehicle on the Turnpike heading into the tunnel back to Boston.

So who’s using it? The I-Team found many off -duty law enforcement officers in their personal vehicles. Our cameras captured them entering the restricted roadway and seconds later another camera shows them gliding onto the Turnpike toll free.

The I-Team learned many of the cars actually belonged to state troopers, some of whom earned more six figure salaries last year. The I-Team also saw a Boston Police officer in his private car and a retired state trooper in her car. And the list goes on and on, all documented over several days of surveillance.

The I-Team has learned this is standard practice. Reliable sources tell us troopers routinely use the bypass road on their way home in their private vehicles to avoid paying the toll.

Doug Barth led an effort to eliminate the tolls on the Turnpike. He says this is “inexcusable” when the state is considering raising taxes.

“If you are in a position where you have some connections maybe you don’t have to pay tolls like the rest of us.”

State Police tell the I-Team troopers in their personal vehicles can bypass the toll ‘if’ they are on official business.

However, State Police never responded to us when we asked if any of these troopers were working. In a statement they did say “troopers in a non-emergency situation are expected to obey all roadway restrictions.” And that includes paying tolls.

Now, here is what makes this even more interesting. The I-Team has confirmed that troopers who are not assigned a cruiser are given a stipend each year, worth nearly $10,000, to cover travel-related costs including tolls. Despite that they are still getting a free ride through the tunnel.

State Police tell the I-Team, “We have opened an internal affairs investigation into the allegations your story has raised.”

Again the I-Team is told, this is a widespread and a well-known practice in law enforcement circles. WBZ asked one officer why he did it and his response was, ‘everyone does’.


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