Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The State Needs Money Thus We Can Disregard The Constitution

This is a local issue that's kind of close to my heart. I use the Turnpike a lot, while rarely do I use the Big Dig tunnels. Over the years, the tolls for the Turnpike have gone up and significantly. Most people who use the Turnpike come from Western neighborhoods, basically more affluent towns than their East & South neighbors, who don't pay a toll at all (or significantly small toll like 35 cents). Why don't they charge people using the big dig tunnels? Anyhoo, it's annoying that the argument the Judge goes with is that it's not in public's best interest. Last time I checked I was the public and it was in my interest to lower the tolls. Oh vell.
"We believe there is a fundamental constitutional principle involved that must be vindicated: The government cannot constitutionally charge some drivers to use a road system in order for most of the drivers to use it for free. We will immediately petition the Appeals Court to right this wrong and uphold the basic constitutional principle that governmental fees must be fair and equitable," Schlichtmann said in a statement.

Before 1997, the Turnpike Authority collected tolls only for the maintenance and operation of the Turnpike. But after legislation enacted that year, the Turnpike has been using tolls collected on the Turnpike and harbor tunnels to pay for the Big Dig, which includes roadways where drivers are not required to pay a toll, the judge said.

The plaintiffs say their tolls should not be used to pay for the Big Dig, which, in addition to building a new harbor tunnel, put Interstate 93 underground through the downtown area. There is no toll on Interstate 93.

No comments: