Western Mass tolls could soon be reinstated - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Western Mass tolls could soon be reinstated

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

State legislatures have approved a compromise bill to raise $500 million in taxes for the state. Wednesday night the senate and house approved the bill which will now go to the Governor.

A portion of that bill includes restoring tolls between exits 1 and 6 on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Those tolls were eliminated back in 1996 by former Gov. William Weld. If reinstated, they would raise some $12 million for the state each year.

Most drivers in the area say aren't too happy about potential change.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous with all the tax money that we already pay," said David Pariseau of West Springfield.

"I think it's kind of cheesy because I think the turnpike should have been free many years ago," said Brian Cooper of Worcester.

But others say the benefits of better roads are worth the added costs.

"They should have paid for them all their life anyway because they got to do the repairs on the road and keep the maintenance up, so I would say pay," said Joseph Wnek of Ware.

The bill would give the transportation department 90 days to present a plan to restore the tolls that includes determining proposed fees and a timeline to implement the collection of those fees.

The bill also calls for an increase to the state's gas tax by 3 cents and calls for the tax on cigarettes to be raised from $1 to $3.51 a pack.

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