Court upholds use of turnpike tolls to pay for the Big Dig
A day after we learned the alleged final cost of the Big Dig, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the way the then turnpike authority shifted toll revenues to Big Dig construction costs was perfectly legal.
A bunch of turnpike commuters had challenged the money shifting, arguing it amounted to an unconstitutional tax, because they were paying for a new road system they might not use.
Au contraire, the state's highest court ruled: It didn't think the use of turnpike money on the Big Dig was a tax, but even if it were, the fact that the legislature approved it made it OK
Because we conclude that the tolls collected by the authority on the MHS were fees, and because we conclude that they would still be constitutional excise taxes even if they were taxes, we affirm the dismissal of the plaintiffs' State constitutional claims.