Mass to charge extra tolls during rush hours

HARRYM

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And after after peak time taxation there will be off peak taxation, more tolls on the roads, pay as you drive tolls, it ain't gonna stop, unless we make it stop. This is about stealing and greed and has nothing to do with roads except being another Trojan Horse being used to hold the Taxpayers upside down shaking every dime from our pockets.
 

Dennis in MA

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I live on the south coast, what is a toll?
Yeah. Because the roads around here were built when no one lived here. "Southcoast? South Shore??? That's where the riff-raff lives. We can't charge them tolls."

Now we aren't riff-raff. Fully expect them to roll out some sort of electronic tolls on the SE Expressway some day.

I understand the strong reactions that people have to congestion pricing, but I encourage people to give this issue some thought. I have thought about this issue quite a bit, and here are some of my thoughts.

  1. One way to look at traffic congestion, is to think of the roads as a valuable resource with no market constraints. So it is free for people to use the roads any time they choose. This has resulted in a massive degradation of the resource, but still no consequences other than degrading the resource for everyone.

  2. The main ways to possibly address resource contention are: more regulations, more taxes to create more shared resources, or creating some type of market to appropriately value the resource. In my mind, I have considered "Are regulations and taxes a good way to solve problems?" Since those options don't look promising, I have to consider whether congestion pricing has potential.

  3. Of course, to have congestion pricing on public roadways, there is inevitably regulation required to implement it, so there is still great potential for problems. Unfortunately, for this method to work, the pricing needs to be enough to really affect behavior, so the $35 tolls described in Virginia might not be completely outlandish. This is really a case where the devil is in the details, but I would still suggest that if the choices are market based vs non-market, then market is worth considering.

  4. You cannot just build roads to alleviate congestion. Without market considerations, you inadvertently subsidize and encourage worse behavior. In particular, with more room on the roads, people will take on even longer commutes so they can enjoy better property even further outside the city. In other words, when you provide more of a valuable resource at a very low cost, overall use of that resource goes up, not down. Economists have studied the usage of undervalued resources quite a bit if anyone is interested.

  5. Another poster mentioned that some companies might change their hours so all their workers could take advantage of lower tolls. This is exactly the idea.

  6. Nothing I have written here should be taken as an endorsement of the plan currently being considered in Massachusetts, these are all more general thoughts about congestion pricing.

  7. Some people have pointed out that congestion pricing ends up being a regressive tax on people who work the hardest and have the least flexibility about it. This is a real concern. It can be somewhat mitigated by tweaking the exact pricing structure, but it is still a real concern. See my next and final point for more on this.

  8. Overall, I can see a lot of potential problems with congestion pricing, but the alternatives still seem likely to do worse.
It's only this way if (IF!) the # of people using the system is constant. That's the problem here. More and more people are trying to get into Boston Proper. So surge pricing is only going to cause an INCREASE in overall traffic into the city and lengthen the traffic problem times.

Surge pricing works in many instances. In this one, I believe we are going to see a massive failure.
 

Zappa

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Don't the pols in Mass. get a stipend for driving in to their job?
Yes, in fact Howie Carr was speaking on this subject yesterday.
They get from $14k - $20k a year extra for "commuting expenses", depending on how far they live from Beacon Hill.
He said one legislator from Central Mass "recalculated" their driving distance so it was just above the threshold to get the maximum amount.

Howie also spoke about the new gantries installed on I-93 and a few other highways. They don't have the transponder reader units and cameras mounted on them yet, but it looks like the state is getting ready to use them for toll collection on these other roads as soon as legislation passes.
 
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lol thats the exact wording coming out of the pols mouth to sell it...
I agree they will sell it like that, but that will only last until they realize they lose X$ and then both rates will go up...I know the MA way
 

drgrant

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I understand the strong reactions that people have to congestion pricing, but I encourage people to give this issue some thought. I have thought about this issue quite a bit, and here are some of my thoughts.

  1. One way to look at traffic congestion, is to think of the roads as a valuable resource with no market constraints. So it is free for people to use the roads any time they choose. This has resulted in a massive degradation of the resource, but still no consequences other than degrading the resource for everyone.

  2. The main ways to possibly address resource contention are: more regulations, more taxes to create more shared resources, or creating some type of market to appropriately value the resource. In my mind, I have considered "Are regulations and taxes a good way to solve problems?" Since those options don't look promising, I have to consider whether congestion pricing has potential.

  3. Of course, to have congestion pricing on public roadways, there is inevitably regulation required to implement it, so there is still great potential for problems. Unfortunately, for this method to work, the pricing needs to be enough to really affect behavior, so the $35 tolls described in Virginia might not be completely outlandish. This is really a case where the devil is in the details, but I would still suggest that if the choices are market based vs non-market, then market is worth considering.

  4. You cannot just build roads to alleviate congestion. Without market considerations, you inadvertently subsidize and encourage worse behavior. In particular, with more room on the roads, people will take on even longer commutes so they can enjoy better property even further outside the city. In other words, when you provide more of a valuable resource at a very low cost, overall use of that resource goes up, not down. Economists have studied the usage of undervalued resources quite a bit if anyone is interested.

  5. Another poster mentioned that some companies might change their hours so all their workers could take advantage of lower tolls. This is exactly the idea.

  6. Nothing I have written here should be taken as an endorsement of the plan currently being considered in Massachusetts, these are all more general thoughts about congestion pricing.

  7. Some people have pointed out that congestion pricing ends up being a regressive tax on people who work the hardest and have the least flexibility about it. This is a real concern. It can be somewhat mitigated by tweaking the exact pricing structure, but it is still a real concern. See my next and final point for more on this.

  8. Overall, I can see a lot of potential problems with congestion pricing, but the alternatives still seem likely to do worse.
In MA this is a revenue enhancement scheme that has nothing to do with congestion. Let's stop giving these idiots a pass/cover for their bs.

-Mike
 

boiler_eng

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Yeah. Because the roads around here were built when no one lived here. "Southcoast? South Shore??? That's where the riff-raff lives. We can't charge them tolls."

Now we aren't riff-raff. Fully expect them to roll out some sort of electronic tolls on the SE Expressway some day.



It's only this way if (IF!) the # of people using the system is constant. That's the problem here. More and more people are trying to get into Boston Proper. So surge pricing is only going to cause an INCREASE in overall traffic into the city and lengthen the traffic problem times.

Surge pricing works in many instances. In this one, I believe we are going to see a massive failure.
Well especially now that tolling can be done electronically, its easy enough to just decide to roll it out. Of course the issue is that they won't exactly reduce the money they collect so they will just go and spend the funds elsewhere. In addition, are they going to start carving out different toll classes? What if someone is 'working poor'? Do non-profit employees get a break? What about electric vehicles? What about a voucher program for those that don't fit in clean boxes? (you know so they can give those out like candy without documentation)
 

Horrible

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Not sure what the intention here is but I really don’t GAF. The end result is a new way to tax those that get up in the morning and schlub off to work especially attacking those with long commutes. f*** Bacon Hill
 

Horrible

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In MA this is a revenue enhancement scheme that has nothing to do with congestion. Let's stop giving these idiots a pass/cover for their bs.

-Mike
Yup. Thank you for calling out the pols’ BS. You live in this state long enough it becomes very easy to see through their BS.
 

Zappa

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Well especially now that tolling can be done electronically, its easy enough to just decide to roll it out.
<>
In addition, are they going to start carving out different toll classes? What if someone is 'working poor'?
Good point.
Can they pay their toll bill with an EBT card ???


Do non-profit employees get a break?
Do Mass legislators ???

Scratch that, they already get $20k a year extra to commute to Beacon Hill

What about electric vehicles?
They should pay MORE!

Other than naturally being insatiably greedy pigs, Bakers bean counters have discovered they're losing gas tax money on EV's and hybrids, so they need a way to make up for it.............and then some.
Remember the automatic gas tax increase bill was defeated, so they can't jack that up immediately under existing law. But even if they did, the EV's would still get a free ride, it would only screw everyone else.
 
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Blackmore

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We sure are provincial up here in the New England backwater. Has no one driven in other parts of the country? Many states now have private tollroads. You can sit in traffic for free or pay to get where you're going in a reasonable amount of time.

We were in the DC area at Easter. The toll roads down there have real time toll adjustments depending on time of day and congestion. Electronic billboards are updated with the cost to get to various exits as you decide whether or not to get on the on ramp.

This is baby steps.
 

Rob Boudrie

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Howie also spoke about the new gantries installed on I-93 and a few other highways. They don't have the transponder reader units and cameras mounted on them yet, but it looks like the state is getting ready to use them for toll collection on these other roads as soon as legislation passes.
They need to be careful to make sure that under 50% of the population pays tolls, or a "Free the Pike II" ballot initiative might pass.
 
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amm5061

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In MA this is a revenue enhancement scheme that has nothing to do with congestion. Let's stop giving these idiots a pass/cover for their bs.

-Mike
This! I work in Waltham and drive the pike and 95. 95 is a shit show in that area from 2:00-7:00 pm every goddamn day. The pike has been super congested at least as late as 8pm.

This shit is so bad, I drive in at 5am because at least at that hour traffic is heavy but moving. It always amazes me how much traffic is on the highway at that hour.
 

Asaltweapon

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Years back I remember a conversation about the toll roads can not get any federal money for them. If 95/93/25 were built using federal dollars
how are they able to just flip a switch?

Or was I fed bad information.
 

garandman

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‘‘Tis going on everywhere. Because governments everywhere are always seeking new revenue sources to increase their power and control.

Many states are discounting EZPass transactions for Home state as well.
 

boiler_eng

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Good point.
Can they pay their toll bill with an EBT card ???




Do Mass legislators ???

Scratch that, they already get $20k a year extra to commute to Beacon Hill



They should pay MORE!

Other than naturally being insatiably greedy pigs, Bakers bean counters have discovered they're losing gas tax money on EV's and hybrids, so they need a way to make up for it.............and then some.
Remember the automatic gas tax increase bill was defeated, so they can't jack that up immediately under existing law. But even if they did, the EV's would still get a free ride, it would only screw everyone else.
But electric vehicles pay in good feelings! /S

There will need to be a "next" evolution of the gas tax as consumption of gas no longer is correlated to usage of the roads. Not sure what the best way would be. (Jumbo tire tax???) But shifting the funding burden slowly to those who can't transition to non gas vehicles is a piss poor plan. So obviously thats what the plan is.
 
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Behavioral economics. It isn't a ploy, it's designed to try and regulate traffic a bit.

Although what eventually happens with traffic is it is busy all the time ANYHOW.

Look at the Cape bridges. Back in my youth, I wanna say there were rotisseries on either side of both bridges. No Rt 25. It was a parking lot every Sat and Sun. Terrible. Then they decide to re-do the Sagamore completely and let people fly-over. They build Rt 25 to get people efficiently to the Bourne with no rotary (but still one on the other side).

Less traffic now???

No.

Just more cars.

Same thing will happen here. It'll reduce things A BIT for a short time. Then there will be someone who is willing to pay the extra toll. So they do. And the next guy. Now you've got full-tilt traffic again during peak hours AND a pile of peeps that swapped to off-peak swamping that as well.

All THAT said - shouldn't they be also, simultaneously, trying to figure out how to put more cars in Boston??? Pretty sure it's a royal PITA to park there now! The increased flow this will lead to is going to absolutely F them in the Bunghole.
The big dig apparently just moved traffic. I was a kid when the project was underway, but I will say having commuted downtown half the time it takes me longer to get From Framingham to Newton on the pike than Newton to Government Center. It just pushed the traffic out, and it will only get worse. The commuter rail is f***ing pathetic.

Mike
 

RHJJ

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See, it's that sort of comment that makes me want MassDOT to put an E-Z Pass gantry or seven on the Distressway. To share the joy! [wink]
Thankfully I don’t commute more than 15 miles. The expressway is only a way to get to New Hampshire for me.
 
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Many states are discounting EZPass transactions for Home state as well.
It should not be allowed to charge non-residents higher fees for using the roads. This is one of the few times when I have the following thoughts.
  • The Feds should ban this.
  • The commerce clause should apply here. This is an actual interference with interstate commerce, so federal jurisdiction should apply.
If politicians (and voters) figure out that they can apply fees to people who don't vote there, then where will it end? Right now, it may be just small fees, but it is also a form of taxation without representation. If the fees are necessary, then charge them equally to everybody, including your own constituents.
 

drgrant

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It should not be allowed to charge non-residents higher fees for using the roads. This is one of the few times when I have the following thoughts.
  • The Feds should ban this.
  • The commerce clause should apply here. This is an actual interference with interstate commerce, so federal jurisdiction should apply.
If politicians (and voters) figure out that they can apply fees to people who don't vote there, then where will it end? Right now, it may be just small fees, but it is also a form of taxation without representation. If the fees are necessary, then charge them equally to everybody, including your own constituents.
The discounts don't work that way for ezpass... anyone can buy an MA ezpass transponder. Hell I live in MA and have an NH one out of spite, lol.

The only people that got geographical discounts are certain Boston residents, and even then its only on the tunnels I think.

-Mike
 
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