After 'brutal' commute, governors talk traffic solutions

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker is eyeing a focus on relationships with local officials as one way to alleviate the congestion plaguing Massachusetts, he said at a traffic summit Tuesday. Baker hosted Govs.

Larry Hogan of Maryland, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire at the Fairmont Copley Plaza for a National Governors Association summit focused on relieving congestion. Hogan, a Republican, chairs the NGA and infrastructure is his signature initiative this year.

Baker said "aggressively managing traffic" while working with local governments will be a focus over the next few years. He'll also pursue "a much more aggressive approach to designated bus lanes," which he called a "very effective way to move people."

Baker said he also wants to undergo a "pretty serious inquiry" of managed lanes, where drivers can opt to pay a toll for the opportunity for faster travel. Studying managed lanes was among the recommendations from the Department of Transportation's recent congestion report.

Raimondo, the only Democrat among the four governors, said addressing congestion will require collaborating across state and party lines.

She's working with Baker on regional rail -- there's already train service to ferry commuters between Rhode Island and Boston, "but we need more of it, and it has to be faster," Raimondo said. "Having just driven up here this morning, I can tell you the traffic is brutal."

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