Thursday, 4:30 PM
Turnpike Board approves smaller than expected toll hike
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file)
By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
The board of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority approved a preliminary toll hike today that was smaller than anticipated, putting off bridge repairs and other expenses in hopes that the governor's plan to reorganize transportation will create some "breathing room."
The proposed hike on Jan. 1 would raise tolls at the Allston-Brighton and Weston booths by 25 cents to $1.25. Tolls in the Ted Williams and Sumner tunnels would increase by 50 cents to $3.50. Increases discussed last month were as high as 75 cents on the tolls and $3 in the tunnels.
"We are taking a short-term step," said Michael Angelini, a board member. "It's hardly heroic."
The proposed increases still need to survive several public hearings and a final vote by the board.
"We owe it to the toll payers" to keep any toll increase modest, said Bernard Cohen, state transportation secretary and chairman of the Turnpike Authority board.
The increase has been pending since 1999 to meet obligations in repaying bonds issued in the late 1990s as part of the Big Dig project. Turnpike staff members said last month they need to raise an extra $100 million a year to cover debts, pay employees, and repair weak bridges.