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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.

Related

Editorial: Maintain Turnpike tolls in western Mass.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Legislative leaders and state highway administrators need to get on the same page regarding the future of tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Bonds for construction of the turnpike from Route 128 to the New York line will be paid off in January 2017 and tolls could be eliminated at that point. But in our opinion, tolls should continue as a …

Legacy Comments1

Nice idea in theory, however the truth is that the money generated from Western Mass tolls will go for "public transportation". The money will not go for road and bridge repair but will be funneled to the MBTA to keep fares for those in Boston earning much higher salaries than those in Western Mass from paying the actual cost for the MBTA. None of this money will be returned to Western Mass.

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