Thursday, October 19, 2006

No more tolls? It's about time.

Well, no more tolls in theory. Most likely, the proposal to get rid of them dies when Patrick is made governor.

It's about time the tolls were pulled out. I don't understand why transportation (roads, rail, busses, and subway) requires a user-based fee system for its maintenance and repair, rather than paying for it out of the tax rate. We all live in this state, and my tax dollars are being spent to pay for schools, cops, fire depts, etc all across the state. If it weren't for the state's tax dollars, cities like Lawrence and Springfield would have no public services. As a taxpayer, I pay for rape crisis centers all across the state, not just in my area code. And that's how it should be. We are a commonwealth, after all.

But if you insist that there's a good reason to make this a regional issue, try this on for size. My Plan B theory, which I came up with right now: Kill the tolls on the pike and replace them with a gas tax. Use that money to cover the expense of repairs to the pike itself and to funding the Big Dig bonds. What's left over should be used on road projects across the state. That's on top of normal yearly appropriations, of course.

Next split the state into five parts: North Shore, Boston, South Shore/Cape, Central and Western. The tax collected in each region can be used exclusively on projects within that area. So repairs can be made to bridges and roadways across the state evenly and according to road use in each area. And they can finally pave the road to Springfield. That's not ideal, but it could work.

No comments: