Western Mass. Residents Speak Out on Return of Turnpike Tolls

The return of tolls for passenger vehicles using the western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike is a foregone conclusion. Still, a public hearing was held inSpringfield Thursday  on the matter. 

 Some of those who addressed state transportation officials were upset legislators required public comment after the resumption of toll collections had already been approved. Others like Aaron Saunders, aLudlowselectman, say westernMass.residents are being slighted.

 “And when we’re told that in order to have guardrails and lighting, we have to pay for it dollar-for-dollar, when we subsidize the types of organizations like the MBTA, like the Big Dig, that’s insulting.”,  Saunders says.

Money raised through the new tolls is earmarked for repairs and maintenance on the westernmost portion of the highway.  Tolls for passenger vehicles are scheduled to return between Exits 1 and 6 on October 15th. Commercial vehicles were never given a free ride on the Turnpike.