Gov. Healey dismisses idea of putting tolls along NH border after MassDOT secretary’s comments

BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey on Monday dismissed the idea of placing tolls along the New Hampshire border after Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt floated it as an idea to generate funding.

While delivering a keynote speech for WalkMassachusetts on April 10, Tibbits-Nutt floated the idea of building new tolls to charge drivers entering Massachusetts from New Hampshire as an option to address budgetary concerns.

During her address, Tibbits-Nutt said a task force has been established to look at ways to generate new funding for transportation initiatives, including safety on roads across the state.

“This comes back to funding. We talk about this all the time. We’re broke. I literally said that in a budget meeting today, I’m like, we’re poor,” Tibbits-Nutt said. “We don’t have enough money. But we’ve never had enough money. We’re probably rarely going to have enough money for transportation, especially safe transportation.”

Tibbits-Nutt said the task force will be targeting “everyone who has money.”

“This one (committee) is actually different because we aren’t censoring this. I’m going to talk about tolling, I’m going to talk about charging TNCs more, I’m going to be talking about potentially charging more for package deliveries, charging more for payroll taxes, basically going after everyone who has money. And when I’m talking tolling, I’m talking at the borders. I’m not talking about within Massachusetts,” Tibbits-Nutt said. “But we are going after all the people who should be giving us money to make our transportation better and our communities better.”

Tibbits-Nutt’s talk of tolling caught the attention of Healey, who in a statement totally dismissed the secretary’s comments.

“The Secretary’s comments do not represent the views of this administration, and to be clear, I am not proposing tolls at any border. I have spoken to the Secretary and made that clear, and that I have confidence in her leadership moving forward in this important time as we work to ensure a strong and robust state transportation system,” Healey said. “Our top priorities are making Massachusetts a more affordable place and bringing people together to get things done. It is why we were proud to partner with the Legislature to pass a billion dollars in tax cuts. The Healey-Driscoll administration is committed to collaborating with the Legislature and all stakeholders to make Massachusetts a more affordable, competitive place.”

Over the weekend, State Auditor Diana DiZoglio said Tibbits-Nutt’s idea for new tolling would create “unmanageable congestion” and an “infrastructural burden” on backroads.

“Merrimack Valley kid here. Putting a toll at the NH border would have devastating impacts on our region, not just economically speaking, but also regarding the unmanageable congestion and infrastructural burden it would create on every local backroad,” DiZoglio wrote in a post on X. “Creating a border war is not the answer and it’s definitely families within Massachusetts who would ultimately be hurt by this move — border communities count. I strongly urge the administration to reject this approach.”

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance also reacted to Tibbits-Nutt’s comments, calling them “simply reprehensible.”

In a statement, MassDOT said Tibbits-Nutt was simply conveying the need “to have difficult conversations” on how to improve the state’s transportation systems.

“At a recent event, the Secretary was conveying that we need to have difficult conversations about how to make our transportation system work best for everyone,” a MassDOT spokesperson said. “This task force is in its early stages and no decisions have been made about its potential recommendations. Any proposals would be made in collaboration with the Legislature and other stakeholders and would carefully consider any affordability and competitiveness implications.”

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW

Comments on this article