Massachusetts moves forward with all-electronic tolling plan

Drivers slow down to 15 mph at a toll booth in Massachusetts. (Photo: Flickr)Drivers slow down to 15 mph at a toll booth in Massachusetts. (Photo: Flickr)

Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick and his administration are moving forward with a $250 million plan that would replace toll collectors in the state with all-electronic tolling, according to a report from The Republican.

In addition to the push for all-electronic tolling, officials are working on a plan that would reinstate passenger-vehicle tolls between Exits 1 and 6, beginning October 15. State legislators approved a law in July that allows the change to happen.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the all-electronic tolling plan at a hearing Thursday night in Boston.

The system would detect E-ZPass transponders and take pictures of license plates of vehicles without transponders. Drivers without transponders would receive a pay-by-plate fee to cover the cost of image processing and billing.

Cynthia Roy Gonzalez, director of communications for MassDOT, said the all-electronic systems will save the agency $50 million a year by eventually terminating about 400 toll collector positions. The system would cost approximately $250 million over 10 years to construct, operate and maintain.

MassDOT plans begin all-electronic tolling next year with southbound traffic at the Tobin Bridge in Boston, with the entire system operating electronically by 2017.