Would you pay a higher toll fee if it eased the traffic?

BOSTON — Lawmakers are revisiting the idea of congestion tolling on the roads. Drivers would pay higher tolls during the busiest times of day with the goal of getting people to adjust their driving times to help ease traffic.

Sometimes traffic moves, but on many days it seems like a parking lot. Tiffany Benson tries to avoid traffic in any way she can. “Just wasting time because it’s not like I can pick up a book and read while in traffic,” said Benson.

Boston was just ranked as having some of the worst congestion in the world- and there is concern that could stifle the city’s growth. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is backing new legislation that would take a comprehensive look at congestion tolling, also known as dynamic tolling. President & CEO Jim Rooney says in theory that would mean cars would pay higher tolls based on the amount of traffic. “Either during these time periods or as we watch traffic and it is busy, you can change the price that would hit your transponder,” said Rooney.

The Chamber does not back any specific proposal right now. The Chamber says the legislation would just create a way to come up with a plan based on whether it has been working in other cities and countries. In Washington DC, dynamic tolling gives riders a choice to drive on less crowded roads for money or deal with the congestion on the toll-free road. The Chamber also says the gas tax won’t be generating as much funding for the state as more electric cars hit the road.  “That is our number one source of revenue,” Rooney explained.  “How do you do that with electricity if you are plugging it in at home, plugging it in at a parking garage, how do you do that.”

Benson despises traffic but she also wants to make sure any new plan is fair to everyone.  “I think it would be unfair to force those who can not adjust their schedules accordingly or those who are hybrid, who have the option to choose whether they want to go in certain hours,” said Benson.

This is the third time the Chamber has helped sponsor this type of legislation.  Rooney believes the newer technology the state has now would make the idea more feasible

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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