Poll: Drivers Don't Like Paying Higher Tolls But Open To Different Strategy

Electronic toll collection gantry over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton MA.(Credit: Arnold Reinhold/Wikipedia)

BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) -- A new poll finds the appetite for higher tolls during rush hours is not favored by Massachusetts votes but a change in Tolling might be.

Chris Dempsey, Director of the advocacy group,  Transportation of Massachusetts, recently polled more than 700 voters. They found that those who were polled aren't fans of the idea of raising tolls during rush hour but would be open to a different strategy.

"We toll in kind of a dumb way. While we have all electronic tolling, we still keep the price the same even when demand is really high and smarter approach would be to give drivers a discount when they drive outside of rush hour. Try to get cars off the roads when roads are really busy ,"he said.

Instead of raising tolls at peak times Dempsey suggests lowering tolls at non peak times.

RELATED: MassDOT Toll Calculator

"there's no support for raising cold right now and that's understandable because we ask people to pay money without showing that much benefit for that. Instead we can start a conversation around having discounts for off peak we think that's a way to get the public to understand that this can be used as a way to manage traffic not as a way to raise revenue," he said,.

Dempsey says their goal is to manage limited road space the best they can and wants a conversation with Commonwealth transportation officials about how reducing congestion can grow to a bigger solution.

"The average driver doesn't want to pay more because they don't feel like they're getting a very good service or a very good experience so having a toll discount program is the way to really change the conversation and get it focused on how do we manage our highways that are rather than always talking about revenue," he said.

WBZ NewsRadio1030's Ben Parker reports.

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