Masspike Authority announces hearings on toll increases

| 11/25/2008

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has scheduled a series of public hearings on proposed toll increases.

Under the proposal, tolls for passenger vehicles would increase from $3.50 to $7 at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels and from $1.25 to $2 at the Allston-Brighton and Weston toll plazas.

A turnpike spokesman had not returned repeated calls by Land Line inquiring about truck toll rates, as of press time.

Turnpike officials say toll increases are needed to keep up with maintenance and capital costs and also to pay down mounting debts associated with the Big Dig tunnel project in Boston.

House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, a critic of the toll proposal, is pursuing an increase in the state tax on motor fuels as an alternative to toll increases. Massachusetts currently collects 21 cents per gallon in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.

Public hearings for the proposed toll increases are scheduled as follows. All hearings are scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Dec. 10
State Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Dec. 15
Lynn City Hall
3 City Hall Square
Lynn, MA 01901

Dec. 17
Framingham Memorial Building
Nevins Hall
150 Concord St.
Framingham, MA 01702

Jan. 7, 2009
Worcester City Hall
455 Main St.
Worcester, MA 01608

Written comments will be accepted for one week following the hearings via e-mail, or until 5 p.m., Jan. 14, 2009, at the following address:

Office of the General Counsel
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4 160
Boston, MA 02116

Gov. Deval Patrick has stated that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority could someday be scrapped and have its duties merged with other state transportation departments.

– By David Tanner, staff writer