Death and Taxes

August 1, 2013
By

The adage goes that the only certainty in life is death and taxes.  This seems to be ringing true for local drivers.  There is a plan afoot from the bureaucrats at the Department of Transportation to install new toll gates at both the entrances of the Sumner and Callahan Tunnel as well as the entrance and exit of the City Square tunnel for the Tobin Bridge. Need we not forget that they want to do the same thing north and southbound for the Ted Williams Tunnel.

Today, these same officials are mum on whether the reduced toll for residents of Charlestown, East Boston and Chelsea will stay in effect and what the new toll charge would be for users of these public roads .

About 40 years ago, the toll booths were eliminated from the North bound roadways of both the Tobin Bridge and Callahan Tunnel.  The reasoning behind this was that it would be a win for the commuter as traffic at rush hour would be improved while paying only one toll that would be equal to what was being paid at the two toll booths.  State leaders expounded that this was also a win for the taxpayer in that only half the number of toll collectors were then needed.

For the last 40 years, this system has worked very well.

Today, DOT officials want to change a system that is not broken.  And in this process, they are not telling anyone the following facts :

Will the toll discount for local commuters still be honored?

What the new toll will be at both gates?

Today’s state officials are unable to find a new tax or fee that they do not like. The additional state gas tax will be going into effect this week.  We fear that the toll discount  for Charlestown residents will be eliminated and the new combined toll fare will be much greater than what we are paying for today.  In addition if teh new tolls prove to be as high as it is rumored, we can exspec increased traffic on Rutherford Ave.

The message from state leaders seems to be clear.

If you live in the affluent communities like Winchester, Reading and as far north as Concord New Hampshire, you have a toll free road into Boston, but if you live in Chelsea or East Boston or Charelstown, just keep forking over more of your money in tolls and gas taxes. In a time when the discussion between the Governor’s office and the State House is about making the Mass Pike toll free in western Massachusetts, is this fair to impose these new toll gate fees on us in the very near future?