the Patrick administration is correctly prioritizing expanding rail service, rebuilding roads, and promoting smart-growth development. The funding mechanisms for maintaining and growing infrastructure should have substantial sources of revenue from the end users and encourage more use of public transportation, which could improve the commuter experience and allow consolidation of jobs in convenient hubs around the state. For those reasons, the gas tax and tolls make the most sense to cover the costs and to direct people off congested roads, where they consume and waste fossil fuels.
It appears unbalanced that the toll revenues are mostly levied on commuters from MetroWest and further points on the Mass Turnpike, while commuters from the north and south on Interstate 93 pay nothing. Massachusetts taxpayers have invested in rail expansion to Plymouth, Providence, and Portland, Maine, but road commuters have no tolls to discourage them from taking their cars on extremely crowded roads such as I-93 or Route 3.
To be fair, any new funding plan should install tolls on those entering Boston from the north or south. If such tolls could be added to the gas tax, other revenue-raising schemes would not have to be considered. Can we overcome the political and other barriers to tolls on I-93? No other taxes should be considered until this question is answered.