CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Automated tolling is coming to Massachusetts, but some drivers are still skeptical about the new system.
Come 2017, you will not have to stop at toll plazas on the MassPike. Whether you have an EZ Pass or not, you can drive under an overhead structure at speed limit, and an automated system will bill you later.
The state Department of Transportation wants to replace the current entry-exit toll booths with a new "All Electronic Tolling System."
DOT officials believe it's the most efficient tolling system. But western Massachusetts drivers aren't convinced yet.
Ray Thompson of West Springfield told 22News “A strange set up. I really don't know how that could possibly work.”
It's a $250 million project. Half of that will be spent on overhead electronic scanners at 10 different locations along the Massachusetts Turnpike. The other half will pay to demolish the toll booths.
If you have an EZ Pass, nothing changes to your billing system. But if you don't, an overhead scanner will take a picture of your license plate, look up your registration information and send you a monthly bill. It has some people worried about security and privacy.
Thompson said “It's scary. This whole technology thing is scary.”
Robin Mitchell of Springfield said,”Computers have a lot of flags in them. I don't know. I don't agree with it. And I don't want to see people out of work. I'm a nurse, and there are too many people out of work already.”
But MassDOT officials told 22News they have a plan.
Drivers' information will not be shared with anyone unless subpoenaed by the court. And MassDOT will offer toll booth workers training programs for other positions within the department.
If you have an out-of-state license plate, MassDOT will send you a bill as well. And they are working on mutual enforcement agreements with northeastern states, so they can deny registration renewals if drivers ignore the bill.