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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority board is so desperate for cash they want to drop to Fast Lane discount provided to regular Pike users within 495. Why? So they can eliminate the tolls entirely for drivers who live farther to the west.

Never mind that the enabling legislation says "the authority shall appropriate the funds necessary to provide said discount on a permanent basis." Romney-omnics.

The board is putting off a decision for two months but that should be no comfort for the beleaguered commuters who almost single handedly pay for the Big Dig project used by north-south commuters. Deval Patrick won't be able to take control of this board until late in his term.

We've discussed this many times before
. Western drivers -- from Pittsfield to Framingham -- have been paying the freight for road improvements that mostly benefit drivers from Plymouth the New Hampshire. That's unfair.

But equally unfair is splitting the pain so that only those drivers inside 128 pay the freight. The solution requires a comprehensive plan that assesses fair costs on those who use the underground artery through Boston. Jacking up tunnel and bridge tolls in a vacuum isn't the answer either.

The toll elimination scheme was a hare-brained proposal to try to breath life into the moribund campaign of Kerry Healey. The plan itself should be eliminated until a fair solution is devised.

Until then, those Metrowest commuters can always save money and ride the MBTA. Oh yeah, I forgot.


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