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The Boston Globe



For Route 3, ‘Lexus lane’ is a turn in wrong direction

On summer weekends, Route 3 can be a forest of delays, as Boston-area families head down to Cape Cod for the weekend. A group of private investors has a solution that’s both intriguing and ultimately problematic: They’ll build a special toll lane from Braintree to Norwell and collect all the receipts.

The unsolicited proposal has spurred state transportation officials to think more deeply about how government and private companies might team up on road construction and maintenance. Such creativity is needed at a time when public resources are scarce. But the creation of so-called “Lexus lanes’’ — where people can opt out of traffic congestion for a fee — raises the uncomfortable specter of a two-tiered transportation system: Quick service for those who are able to pay for it, while everyone else endures lengthy back-ups.

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