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Route 3 Expansion with Toll a 'Creative' Way to Ease Congestion, Mayor Says

Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan said that the plan is only in its preliminary stages and public comment will be welcome on the MassDOT project.

State transportation officials briefed Mayor Joseph Sullivan about a month ago on the plan pitched by undisclosed developers to add a toll lane to Route 3 to help ease congestion on the highway as it passes through Braintree and other towns.

"It is some creative thinking," Sullivan said. "There is a benefit to adding a lane to the highway."

But Sullivan also cautioned that the proposal – reported last week by the State House News Service – is only in its initial stages and that before moving ahead the MassDOT must work with developers to refine the plan and seek public input.

The toll lane, using EZ-Pass technology, would raise money to help finance the highway expansion project, slated to run nine miles from Braintree to Norwell, according to documents obtained by SHNS. Private interests would run the toll, while the state would be in charge of maintenance and operations.

Adding the extra lanes would likely mean land takings in Braintree near exit 17 heading south, Sullivan said. Train tracks on the opposite side of the highway would inhibit takings there. Any taking would most likely not involve residential land, based on what the mayor said he has seen of the plans.

Sullivan served for six years as the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation.

A plan for Route 3 will likely be part of a larger transportation financing proposal Gov. Deval Patrick will unveil next month, Sullivan said. The governor's pitch will also include a switch from manual tollbooth operators to electronic on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Congestion along Route 3 needs to be addressed, Sullivan said, and any major construction projects cannot rely solely on the gas tax. The toll-funded "hot lane" proposal, though not perfect, moves the conversation along, he added.

"I appreciate the creative thinking, but it needs refinement," Sullivan said.

Vernon Harrison December 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM
As long as you still have a penny to your name the Leadership in this state and town will be focusing on how to get their hands on it. There is a reason why more people left MA than any other state in the country over the last decade. I say put up the toll, raise the gas tax, and add a mileage tax, all I ask is the for the last one to leave to shut off the lights.
Carolyn J Puleo December 26, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Taxed, taxed and taxed again and tolls upon tolls again. More and more is taken from us, the citizens and less and less is given us. WE the poor class are burdened enough. "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer". Every day another way to take more from us. How are we to survive? Stop fraudulent spending and outright thievery. Enough already!
Silence Dogood December 26, 2012 at 08:10 PM
In my opinion this is just another way that some developers will try to make a buck at the expense of the taxpayers. If there is such a need, then lets fund it throught the normal channels. I hope our elected leaders will look at this from the point of view of the taxpayer or in this case the tollpayer rather than from their own budget.
Matt December 26, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Another great way to make money is to put a toll at the end of Sullivan's drive way. The more they make the more they waste. Its like how they want to expand the green line. Only for about 1.3 billion. Why can't the fix the red line first. Some of the red line stations are like dungeons.

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