Friday, August 22, 2008

Mass. to Fast Laners: Drop Dead

Never be a sucker. Because if someone ever marks you as a sucker, they will always treat you like shit. Today's case in point: The Turnpike Authority's plan to jack up tolls on Fast Lane users.

See, people along the 93 corridor are not suckers. They said "Fuck no!" to tolls along the highway, and they got what they wanted. They pitched a fit at the very notion and the state backed off.

But Fast Lane users? Suckers. We've already agreed to pay to use the highways and bridges we need, so in the state's eyes, we'll pay for the entire burden of projects across the state.

If you live in Mertowest or the North Shore*, you're a sucker. If you live on the South Shore or the 93N corridor, you're a free rider. To illustrate the point, I made a map. Free Riders in Green. Suckers in Blue.:

View Larger Map

I have no love for tolls. I was psyched at the 2006 plan to get rid of them. But if we're going to have tolls, then let's put them where there's 1) demand for the roadway and 2) spreads the onus of using the highway system over the most number of people. If that gets more people along 93 to take the commuter rail, then great. But at least it shifts the burden to everybody taking a major highway into Boston. Toll everyone or no one. Take your pick.

*That's one thing that's annoyed me about this debate. People who live on the North Shore are not getting a free ride. We pay tolls coming over the Tobin or through the Sumner and Williams tunnels. If you ever bothered to look at a map, you'd see that 93 pushes significantly inland. Chealsea, Revere, Saugus, Everett, Malden, Lynn, etc. are all tolled heavily to come into Boston. Just remember that when you talk about this stuff.

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