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 Road tolls on I-95 at the state line.

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Do you think tolls are the answer to repairing our highways?
Yes...if you drive on it then you pay to maintain it.
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No...we already pay enough road taxes.
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Dave
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PostSubject: Road tolls on I-95 at the state line.   Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:28 pm

Quote :
Road tolls at the Massachusetts line? Reactions are all over the map

01:00 AM EST on Saturday, January 24, 2009

By Richard C. Dujardin

Journal Staff Writer

A proposal by Massachusetts Governor Patrick to help his cash-strapped state raise new revenue by setting up toll booths at major border crossings from Rhode Island and neighboring states is getting a definite thumbs-down from shoppers and merchants in both states, at least those living near the state line.

Outrageous, foolish, stupid and “daft.” Those were some of the words that shoppers and clerks at the Shaws, Cardi’s and Bob’s Furniture in South Attleboro used last night when asked to describe their reactions to Patrick’s proposal, which in many ways mirrors the recommendations of Governor Carcieri’s blue ribbon panel on transportation.

“What do I think? I say absolutely not,” said Tiffany Hebert, 38, as she filled her car with groceries. “If they put in tolls, I’d be screwed. I live in Attleboro, but the rest of my family is in Rhode Island. What am I supposed to do? Not visit my family? It’s outrageous.”

Elena Lane, 52, who lives in Pawtucket, agreed. “Most of my family is in Massachusetts, so I guess I would be taking the side roads.”

“I think it’s the daftest idea I ever heard. Last time I checked, we were still part of the 50 states. Why would we charge people to come in and out of Massachusetts?” said Matt Donovan, a North Attleboro resident.

“Why doesn’t the government take all our paychecks, and then give us back what they don’t need,” said John Santos, a sales associate at Bob’s Furniture. “I’m definitely not in favor of setting up tolls so they can give out $80,000 salaries to toll-booth operators.”

Patrick told a statewide public radio audience yesterday that federal officials — who must approve any tolls on the federal highway system — had signaled a willingness to consider the tolls as a way to help Massachusetts cope with debts from the Big Dig.

In December, a panel co-chaired by Jerome Williams, director of the Department of Administration, and Michael P. Lewis, director of the Department of Transportation, suggested that Rhode Island set up toll plazas in both directions on Route 95 at the Connecticut border. Cars would be charged $3 and trucks $6 to raise at least $39 million of the $300 million a year the state needs to pay for highway and bridge repairs.

The panel said additional tolls at the state’s borders at Attleboro and Seekonk would raise $60 million because of the high volume of traffic. It was suggested that a revenue-sharing arrangement could be made with Massachusetts.

Robert Cusack, a member of the panel and an East Providence councilman, said that the Massachusetts governor has the right idea. As much as his own constituents would dislike paying fees and tolls, he said, he thinks they would rather pay a toll than live with a disruption to a state highway system in disrepair.

“We are the lowest state in the Union when it comes to our percentage of contribution to highway repairs. On average, states contribute 60 percent of the cost of repairing their highway infrastructure. We contribute somewhere between 20 to 30 percent, and have been relying on the federal government to pay the rest.”

Cusack said people may complain about tolls, but New Hampshire has had tolls for a long time and no one complains. “New Hampshire has more severe weather, but their roads are in first-class condition because they have tolls to finance it.”

Dana Nolfe, chief public-affairs officer for the DOT, said she would like to see details of Patrick’s proposal before making any comment.

— Staff Writer Bruce Landis contributed to this report.

rdujardi@projo.com
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tombenoit
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PostSubject: Re: Road tolls on I-95 at the state line.   Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:49 pm

Highways that have toll booths are typically limited access highways (I am excluding bridges of course). Rts 95 and 195 are anything but that. What also does not seem to have been considered is the construction costs to build toll plazas and the impact of vehicles backed up for miles each way waiting to pay tolls as well as the operarting expenses. I recall that the Mt. Hope Bridge had toll booths until they figured out that the tolls collected did not even cover the expense of collecting them.

Sounds like a knee jerk reaction without much thought.
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PostSubject: “Vehicle Miles Traveled” program to replace the gas tax by 2014?   Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:39 am

Mass. mileage charge being considered elsewhere


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 17, 2009

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick’s idea to use GPS chips in vehicles to charge people for the miles they drive is being blasted as “Orwellian” by some opponents.

But a similar program has been tried in Oregon with positive results - after efforts to eliminate concerns “Big Brother” was watching. For instance, its GPS system doesn’t allow real-time tracking of the vehicle, though it still measures distance traveled.

A draft plan by the Patrick administration has called for a “Vehicle Miles Traveled” program to replace the gas tax by 2014.

The idea is that as cars become more fuel efficient, gas tax revenues will drop. Charging drivers for the miles they put on state roads is seen as fair way to pay for them.

Governors in Idaho and Rhode Island are also considering such programs.
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I wonder if the Vehicle Miles Traveled PROGRAM (TAX??) will replace all the existing MA gas taxes or just the additional gas taxes they plan to levy on us?
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PostSubject: Re: Road tolls on I-95 at the state line.   Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:37 pm

So the 'Miles Driven' concept would eliminate the gas tax (sahed by anyone who buys gas in MA) and instead only taxes those who actually have vehicles registed in MA. I see a loophole in the making. Does it also include miles driven outside of the MA border?
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PostSubject: How would a Family Roadtrip across the USA be assessed in this new plan?   Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:14 pm

If my car is registered in MA and I take my family on a 2 week road trip across the USA and travel 3000 miles, all outside of MA, and don't even buy gas in MA, what would I be assessed for vehicle miles traveled? confused
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PostSubject: Obama nixes plan to tax motorists on mileage   Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:57 pm

Obama nixes plan to tax motorists on mileage
Print By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer Joan Lowy, Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday rejected his transportation secretary's suggestion that the administration consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive instead of how much gasoline they buy. "It is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, when asked for the president's thoughts about Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's suggestion, raised in an interview with The Associated Press a daily earlier.

Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation's transportation system moving, LaHood told the AP.

"We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled," the former Illinois Republican lawmaker said in the AP interview.

LaHood spokeswoman Lori Irving said Friday that the secretary was speaking of the idea only in general terms, not as something being implemented as administration policy.

Most transportation experts see a vehicle miles traveled tax as a long-term solution, but Congress is being urged to move in that direction now by funding pilot projects.

The idea also is gaining ground in several states. The governor of Idaho is talking about such a program. A North Carolina panel suggested in December the state start charging motorists a quarter-cent for every mile as a substitute for the gas tax. Rhode Island's governor, however, has expressed opposition to a panel's recommendation in December that the state charge motorists a half-cent for every mile driven in addition to the gas tax.

A tentative plan in Massachusetts to use GPS chips in vehicles to charge motorists by the mile has drawn complaints from drivers who say it's an Orwellian intrusion by government into the lives of citizens. Other motorists say it eliminates an incentive to drive more fuel-efficient cars since gas guzzlers will be taxed at the same rate as fuel sippers.
Besides a VMT tax, more tolls for highways and bridges and more government partnerships with business to finance transportation projects are other funding options, LaHood, one of two Republicans in Obama's Cabinet, said in the interview Thursday.

"What I see this administration doing is this — thinking outside the box on how we fund our infrastructure in America," he said.

LaHood said he firmly opposes raising the federal gasoline tax in the current recession.

The program that funds the federal share of highway projects is part of a surface transportation law that expires Sept. 30. Last fall, Congress made an emergency infusion of $8 billion to make up for a shortfall between gas tax revenues and the amount of money promised to states for their projects. The gap between money raised by the gas tax and the cost of maintaining the nation's highway system and expanding it to accommodate population growth is forecast to continue to widen.

Among the reasons for the gap is a switch to more fuel-efficient cars and a decrease in driving that many transportation experts believe is related to the economic downturn. Electric cars and alternative-fuel vehicles that don't use gasoline are expected to start penetrating the market in greater numbers.

A blue-ribbon national transportation commission is expected to release a report next week recommending a VMT.

The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.

The device would tally how much tax motorists owed depending upon their road use. Motorists would pay the amount owed when it was downloaded, probably at gas stations at first, but an alternative eventually would be needed.

Rob Atkinson, chairman of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, the blue-ribbon group that is developing future transportation funding options, said moving to a national VMT would take about a decade.

Privacy concerns are based more on perception than any actual risk, Atkinson said. The satellite information would be beamed one way to the car and driving information would be contained within the device on the car, with the amount of the tax due the only information that's downloaded, he said.
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PostSubject: Re: Road tolls on I-95 at the state line.   Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:17 pm

Will the GPS system be imposed upon the friends and family of politicians? How about major campaign contributors?

Will Vehicles owned by corporations or the government be exempt?

Will your driving records be allowed as evidence in civil or criminal cases? On the day in question, was your vehicle parked close to the scene of the crime? You've visited the parking lot of Bob's liquors quite a few times this year Mr. Jones. Will your driving records be stored in a computer system that can be accessed by hackers? Will you need to keep your own mileage records in order to deter overcharging by the state? Will you be ignored or simply worn down by bureaucracy if you really are overcharged and try to correct it? Will out-of-routine driving be flagged for perusal by law enforcement agencies? If the GPS chip installed in your vehicle fails to function properly, or if your vehicle is stolen will you be fined or simply be presented with a bill for some standard mileage?

The opportunities for abuse in such a system are obvious.
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