Western Massachusetts lawmakers raise concerns over traffic congestion proposal

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Through the governor’s plan, you could pay more money to drive faster through rush hour traffic, but many western Massachusetts lawmakers view the additional fee as unfair to their constituents.

The congestion pricing proposal, which was heard in the committee on Tuesday, would allow drivers to pay an additional fee at Massachusetts tolls to drive a certain speed during peak travel hours.

The plan aims to encourage commuters to carpool, take public transportation or drive after peak hours, but some lawmakers say many of those are not an option for commuters from the western part of the state.

“And when you talk about making the residents of western Massachusetts who make less money than our counterparts in eastern Massachusetts pay more to drive because we truly have no other options, that seems like a massive equity issue to me,” Representative Sabadosa said.

Western Massachusetts lawmakers would like to see the state invest in better public transportation so residents in their districts have more options when it comes to commuting in and out of Boston.

Congestion pricing is already in place in nine of the country’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, but not everyone in the legislature is sold on the idea that Boston should be next.

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