Editorial: Time to pay the piper on Mass Pike tolls
For passenger car drivers, zipping along the Mass Pike from West Stockbridge to Springfield without having to pay tolls was nice while it lasted. After 17 years, the tolls will return between Exits 1 through 6 on Oct. 15.
The tolls on the 50-mile western section of Interstate 90 were eliminated in 1996 by former Gov. William Weld as a sop to western Massachusetts residents angry that the state’s transportation money was being diverted to the Big Dig.
The tolls are coming back — at 1996 rates — as part of the long-term transportation financing package approved by the Legislature in June. The restoration of the tolls is expected to generate $12 million in revenue annually. While the free tolls may have saved WMass motorists a few bucks, it did nothing to generate money for bridge and road repair. That must be the priority now.