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Turnpike Authority Rejects One Toll Hike, Considers Another

The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Turnpike authority has backed away from a proposed $100 million toll hike. But a smaller toll increase could be in the works for February.

WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti reports.

The Board was facing a vote that could have doubled some Turnpike tolls. Much of that money would have gone to critical road and bridge repairs.

Instead, the board opted to consider smaller, stopgap measures next month, just enough to keep the Pike from defaulting on its debts for the remainder of this fiscal year.

When asked if toll hikes were meant to push public support for a higher gas tax, Transportation Secretary James Aloisi replied,

ALOISI: No. I'm making the case for fixing bridges. I'm making the case for public safety. I'm making the case for not going into default. Those are the things I'm making a case for.

It's uncertain if any proposed toll hike, smaller or not, has the votes to pass. At least two board members insisted that all tolls be frozen until comprehensive transportation reform is passed on Beacon Hill.

This program aired on January 23, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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