BOSTON (WGGB) – The public is being invited to attend two hearings before MassDOT is set to reinstate tolls between exits 1 and 6 along the Mass. Turnpike.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Jim McCarthy.
McCarthy, who uses the Mass Pike daily, is less than thrilled with the soon to be toll. He may make a detour.
“It’s a little big longer, but it’s to show comtempt for the government,” said McCarthy.
Others don’t mind paying their share.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be that big a deal. If it’s bringing revenure for the state I am okay with it,” said Kasia Gocloski.
“If peple are gonna be using the highway they should be paying a little bit of the toll even if it’s half price,” said Lauren Querze.
MassDOT says that a transportation finance bill recently passed by the Mass. House and Senate is requiring the agency to collect tolls between these exits.
The cost for those tolls will be at rates that were in place in 1996, when the tolls were originally eliminated west of I-291, and will begin to be collected on October 15.
Two hearings are set for next month, where people can learn more about the implementation plan, ask questions, offer comments, and register for an EZ-Pass on-site. They legally have to hold the hearings even though the tolls are a done deal.
“Our goal is to engage the public, communicate what the plans are, you know in the coming months. Also going forward for a more longer range perspective as we may change tolling to an all electronic format,” said MassDot Spokesperson Mike Verseckes.
The first meeting will be on Wednesday, September 10 at Lee High School, while the second will be held on Wednesday, September 12 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Both events will be from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
The hearings require a public comment period and people will be able to file their comments via email. A dedicated email address – WesternTurnpike@dotmass.state.ma.us – will be activated in the coming days.
Those who may wish to attend, but may need assistance services (sign language interpreter, listening devices, translated documents, etc.), are being asked to contact Donny Dailey at MassDOT at (857) 368-8902 or by email.
You can CLICK HERE to see what the toll rates will be for between Exits 1 and 6.
The state estimates that the restoration of the tolls will generate about $12 million in revenue, which will be put towards the Mass. Transportation Trust Fund, which will help fund road, bridge, and public transit projects, except Turnpike construction and maintenance east of I-95 (Exit 14).