Saturday, 2:15 PM
Cape agency floats idea of imposing bridge tolls
(Globe file/David Kamerman)
Cars lining up to cross the Sagamore Bridge last summer.
By David Abel, Globe Staff
A planning agency in Cape Cod has proposed requiring non-residents to pay a toll before crossing the Sagamore and Bourne bridges, as part of an effort to ease traffic and boost the budget for road maintenance.
The idea, one of a number of revenue-raising options offered at a meeting last night of Barnstable commissioners, would be to use high-tech cameras to capture the license-plate numbers of vehicles and then to send toll bills to those with cars registered off the island, said Paul Niedzwiecki, executive director of the Cape Cod Commission, the Barnstable County department that proposed the plan.
Any tolls administered on the bridges would have to be approved by the county’s commissioners as well as state and local officials.
“This is just a preliminary idea, but in the summer, Cape Cod has three times its year-round population, and we need a transportation infrastructure that can support that,” Niedzwiecki said. “There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, but it’s an idea that has worked elsewhere.”
If the tolls were set at $1, he estimated the island could raise about $10 million to pay for the $42 million of annual costs to maintain roads. He said the tolls could also be set at specific times, to try to improve the traffic flow.
County commissioners said they thought the proposal is worth studying, but local officials in the tourism business and regular commuters to Cape Cod questioned the proposal.