Legislature’s toll

October 17, 2009

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AS ONE of the lead plaintiffs in the Mass. Turnpike Toll Equity Trust’s suit against the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, it might be presumed that I’d celebrate its demise. In fact, I view the changes as a non-event.

This is due to the most basic fact, one most often overlooked. It was the Legislature that assigned the statewide responsibility to repay the Big Dig debt to the MTA. It was the Legislature that created the rules that led to this most egregious toll inequity. Surely, the MTA Board always lacked the intestinal fortitude to refuse to raise tolls beyond a fair and equitable level, fearing the financial consequences and not wanting to challenge the Legislature or various governors.

But the conclusion has been and remains inescapable. The Legislature must compensate the toll payers for the hundreds of millions of dollars illegally charged as well as budget sufficient capital and operational funds for the state’s transportation needs.

Joel A. Feingold

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