Mass Pike Skewers Motorists. Again. Still.

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
mass pike skewers motorists again still

“Toll increases must be considered imminently,” says the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (via This news comes just two weeks after a 25- to 50 cent toll increase on I90. What’s the rush? “Fiscal woes” could delay more than $65m worth of construction and maintenance work on the 138-mile-long highway. Time for some regrets as well. In 1996, six exits at the western end of the highway (Exit 1 to Exit 6) became toll-free to passenger vehicles. That move “has deprived the authority of $120 million that could have staved off the growing backlog of maintenance work,” says Turnpike Authority board member Mary Z. Connaughton. State Senator Michael R. Knapik says reinstating tolls on the first six exits "would not be a popular step at all, to say the least.” State Representative David P. Linsky puts a finer point on it. "I am adamantly opposed to tolls going up, because I know that over 50 percent of the tolls we're paying now on the Weston-to-Boston extension aren't going to the road we're riding on, but to the Big Dig," he decries. Taxation without transportation?

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  • Windswords Windswords on Jan 17, 2008

    morbo, I feel your pain. I used to live in Camden County NJ. Finally got out and moved to New Castle County DE (of all the Northeastern states, Delaware seemed to be the most sane). Now I live in FL.

  • Jesse Jesse on Jan 17, 2008
    jazbo123 : January 17th, 2008 at 11:43 am They are both areas that continuously vote in redistributionist politicians. So because we tend to vote liberal we deserve an unnecessary tax on a road that was paid off years ago? I don't follow.
  • Geeber Geeber on Jan 17, 2008
    bunkie: The irony of this statment is that if we talk about redistribution of federal tax revenues, it is states like Mass, California and New York that get far less than they pay out. Maybe that is because their populations tend to elect legislators who favor higher federal taxes designed to hit higher income earners...the only problem being that, given that the cost of living is higher in those states, salaries must be higher, too. Hence, residents are more likely to be hit with taxes designed to "soak the rich," because by, say, Alabama standards, even upper-middle income folks in California or New York are "rich," if we consider income. (The dirty little secret of taxation is that just taxing the super rich - i.e, the Paris Hiltons and Donald Trumps of the world - will not raise nearly enough revenue to pay for government programs. Hence, the need to hit middle-income and upper-middle income taxpayers with increased taxes. Guess what - most of those taxpayers live in New York, California, Massachusetts, etc.) If I recall correctly, one of the Democrat candidates for president (I believe it was Barack Obama) wanted to hike taxes on incomes over $75,000. Out here in rural Pennsylvania, I can live quite nicely on $75,000 a year. I doubt that would be the case in San Francisco or Boston, especially if I am buying a house. bunkie: The perfect example is the power of low-population farm states that benefit from farm-subsidy and ethanol programs. And yet, every time the federal government attempts to cut or eliminate farm subsidies, we are treated to stories about the "failing family farmer" and how awful it is that the federal government isn't doing anything to help him (or her). Most of those stories are played up Democrats, and I even recall several prominent actresses (Sissy Spacek and Jessica Lange among them - I'd be shocked if they are Republicans or even Libertarians) testifying before Congress, urging it to "do something" for farmers. When Democrats lead the charge to eliminate farm subsidies, let me know...
  • Omnivore Omnivore on Jan 17, 2008

    @GS650G: That's not entirely accurate. Gov. Rendell's plan to toll I-80 would generate some revenue to create stable funding sources for SEPTA and for Port Authority Transit in Pittsburgh (as well as other transit agencies in smaller Pennsylvania cities), but a majority of the revenue would be used to maintain and rebuild the state's shockingly rundown road and highway infrastructure. Since I-80 is overwhelmingly used by out-of-state cars and trucks that are merely crossing PA (in connects NYC with points west, and crosses a whole lotta nothing in PA), it sort of makes sense. Make someone else pay.