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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, August 15, 2007

Taking its toll

Stand by for a fleecing -- unless you use the new Route 93 of course.

Drivers using the Mass. Pike and the harbor tunnels are about to get whacked with a ginormous toll increase to pay for the cost overruns on the Big Dig. That includes people who use the 40-something year-old Pike extension through Boston and the ancient Sumner and Callahan tunnels.

It does not include those who use the spiffy new O'Neill Tunnel or Zakim Bridge or the new roadways that connect them to I-93 North and South.

It also means that when you add the "pool fee" levied on people using cabs to leave Logan Airport, it's likely to cost a minimum of $10 just to open the door. (Of course you could take the T, but that's a different nightmare scenario).

And oh yeah, those of you regular Pike users who get a little break from Fast Lane discounts, hold on to your transponders.

Turnpike Authority board members Mary Z. Connaughton and Judy M. Pagliuca want to spare Pike users from the central and western parts of the state the burden of the mismanagement of the projects transfered to the Pike's control in the 1990s.

That's noble. But they also apparently want to spare the free riders from the north and south who pay nothing while using the Big Dig regularly.

There is no question that the Turnpike Authority -- which was given control of the Metro Highway System by the Legislature in what now seems like a Faustian bargain -- is up against it.

But their solution -- to stick it even harder to people who do not benefit daily -- is ludicrous (it's worse than that but this is a family blog).

It's time for a statewide solution -- one that also deals with the $17 billion or so of infrastructure needs that have also come home to roost. You know crumbling tunnels and bridges that were allowed to fester while the Big Dig soaked in all the cash.

A bump in the gasoline tax is one way to address all theses problems, before the tunnels cost $10 each way.

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Blogger Paul Levy said...

People have known about the prospective deficit in funds for the Big Dig maintenance budget for almost 10 years. It is about time it is being addressed.

August 15, 2007 6:11 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Please Please Please No more taxes I'm broke

August 17, 2007 7:51 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I'm not enthused about more taxes either, but I prefer my tunnels to stay open and my bridges to stay up.

I also don't feel that only a select number of people -- who don't use the Big Dig as much as other free riders -- should bear the entire burden.

If we're not careful, those folks will be tossing their transponders into the harbor!

Of course you could sit at home -- or take the T :-)

August 18, 2007 2:00 PM  

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