Around New England

Massachusetts Senate President Says More Tolls Should Be Option

May 20, 2024

The president of the Massachusetts Senate said she’s open to putting tolls at the state’s New Hampshire border and possibly elsewhere.

More revenue is needed for public transportation, among other things, said state Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the president of the state Senate.

“I think people want a 21st century transportation system,” Spilka said during an appearance on WCVB-TV Channel 5’s On The Record, broadcast Sunday, May 19.

Governor Maura Healey, a fellow Democrat, shot down the idea of adding tolls at the New Hampshire border on April 23, following a talk her transportation secretary, Monica Tibbits-Nitt, made earlier that month calling for such tolls.

A co-host of the On The Record pointed out that Tibbits-Nutt has called for putting tolls at the Cape Cod Canal bridges.

“I think that we need to just to be open. And if tolls make sense, then let’s talk. Or not, then let’s talk about it. I don’t know if they make sense there. But again, if we start excluding lots of things off the bat, then we’re going to end up with the T on fire, and tracks not properly laid, or, you know –” Spilka said, before getting cut off by a question by the other co-host.

Spilka also refused to rule out so-called congestion pricing, in which drivers would be charged for driving on certain roads during rush hour.

“I’m not ruling anything out. And I don’t think we should,” Spilka said.

Massachusetts currently has tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike, which runs from Boston west to the New York state border; the three tunnels underneath Boston Harbor that go to and from Logan Airport (the Callahan Tunnel, the Sumner Tunnel, and the Ted Williams Tunnel); and the Tobin Bridge on Route 1 over the Mystic River.

 

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