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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, June 20, 2007

Wrong way tolls

Forgive me if I think that some (Romney era-holdovers) believe the only way to solve the state's transportation problems is to make a handful of people dig deeper into their wallets.

We are well aware that the entire state's transportation infrastructure is in tough shape and that one of the major reasons is the time and resources that have been plugged into the Big Dig. So why are the people who don't use the Big Dig every day being eyed as the principal source of new revenue -- in the form of rush hour tolls on the Mass. Pike?

And why are west suburban commuters targeted in tandem with MBTA riders, who are being asked to pay regularly increasing fares to keep their cars off the road?

What about our friendly daily commuters from New Hampshire -- many of whom abandoned the state because of property taxes and now enjoy free rides on unregulated roadways? Or South Shore commuters, who reap the most benefit from the new roadway in exchange for no extra financial pain?

Higher T fares of course mean more people saying no to the privilege of jamming into overcrowded sardine cans to share a fraction of a inch with a questionable-smelling commuter. Maybe that's the way to get them back into their cars and onto the pricier roads?

The simplest and most equitable way to finance necessary road repairs is through the gasoline tax. That's what it is there for. Yes, with gas hovering in the $3 a gallon range it is a painful prospect to ask commuters to pay more.

But then again, maybe they will respond by getting out of the cars and onto public transportation that will offer them quick, convenient and friendly commutes. Heck, folks coming in from the west can ride the Riverside branch of the Green Line.

Oh yeah, I forgot.

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