BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Massachusetts is moving ahead with a plan to modernize toll roads by replacing toll collectors with an electronic system. At a Jet Blue ribbon cutting ceremony, Governor Deval Patrick said the state would encourage more than 400 toll collectors to retire or find other work as early as 2015.
“This isn’t about the toll takers, it’s about having a modern and as efficient a transportation system as possible and we will make as dignified and soft a landing as possible,” said Patrick.
Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said the cost of building a system of sensors, electronic transponders and cameras could cost $100 million dollars but would pay for itself in 2 to 3 years.
“It just makes sense, this is one more reform that reduces costs, people can pay at speed, so it’s 65 miles/hour, not at 15 or 20 today, so it reduces congestion,” said Davey.
The Patrick administration has also not ruled out adding tolls to north and southbound highways to make commutes across the state fair.
“When it comes to transportation and finance we haven’t ruled anything out but as for today, as I said, what we’re looking for is to primarily improve what we have today,” said Davey.
The Patrick administration is trying to negotiate a union contract that gives them the power to eliminate manual toll collection. Governor Patrick said no set time table has been laid out yet
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