Thank you for informing your readers about the ways other states are thinking outside of the box to pay for transportation improvements (“States seek new tolls to pay for highways,” Page A16, May 27).
Placing tolls on Interstate 93 through Boston and along other major highways in the Commonwealth is a good user-based financing approach to consider in light of the state’s current fiscal situation. However, the implementation of such tolls will not happen overnight, due to the time required to address technological, legal, and political issues. While such issues are being addressed, serious consideration should also be given to increasing the state gas tax and indexing it to inflation. The success of our transportation improvement program in Massachusetts will depend on a comprehensive transportation financing strategy including new and existing tolls, a restructured gas tax, and other user- and non-user-based revenue sources.
The writer is professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the UMass Transportation Center at University of Massachusetts Amherst.