Massachusetts to delay turnpike toll hikes

| 3/20/2009

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and leaders of the state House and Senate agreed on Thursday, March 19, to delay proposed toll increases for the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The Boston Globe reported that Patrick met with legislators and decided on the reprieve, which is expected to be approved by the Turnpike Authority’s board of directors.

The original deadline for the toll increases was March 29. Although no new date has been set, a second round of toll increases is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Patrick says a new, comprehensive plan for the state’s transportation funding will be in place before that deadline.

The plan devised in the meeting calls for the Turnpike Authority to use $13 million from the agency’s $54 million reserve fund. Earlier in the week, one of Patrick’s own transportation aides had called that idea a “shortsighted gimmick.”

The final plan, however, is still up in the air, meaning motorists in Massachusetts could still face toll increases, gas tax increases or both sometime this summer.