Ari Ofesevit has been looking at the latest Massachusetts Turnpike traffic data (courtesy those toll gantry thingees) and while it's not surprising that people are simply driving a lot less on the highway in the Boston area in these Covid-19 days, it's still kind of amazing to see - and raises some questions about MassDOT toll revenue.
They charge a $25 minimum replenishment for EZPass now, up from $10. Of course, I replenished not long before I stopped using the Pike on work furlough grounds, so the Commonwealth presumably gets to collect a nice chunk of interest.
At near 0% interest, not too nice.
Replenishment amount varies from person-to-person, based on your maximum monthly usage (the website says average, but a call after they raised my replenishment amount significantly a few years ago revealed it's based on maximum, not average usage).
The initial amount was $25 when I opened my account 8 years ago, but a quick check of https://www.ezdrivema.com/ezpassma shows that it is currently $20.
If yours recently changed from $10 to $25, it must have been a usage-based adjustment.
I know of at least one person here that would approve...
... and the other side for motor vehicles.
from "one side for pedestrians and the other side for cyclists".
I have never ever had the thought "oh, it must be fun to cycle on the Pike". Our Bucolic, scenic rural New England roads are actually much better.
But if it were to happen (it won't), I would do it just for the hell of it.
In some places in California it's legal to cycle on the shoulder.
The Turnpike Authority and MBTA have lost ninety percent of their customers and revenue. If they were run like a private enterprises they would be forced to lay off and furlough all non essential workers.
This feels like one of those rare moments when all of us are focused on the same thing, and we have broad cooperation and agreement about what needs to happen. Don't let a tiny, vocal minority sway you — we are seeing our friends, neighbors, and fellow humans exercise the extraordinary powers we have when we act in a coordinated, compassionate fashion!
I'm very encouraged by many people's immediate instinct, to try to find ways to help someone who may have greater need: someone older, someone already wounded or ill, someone with fewer resources or with more obstacles.
Imagine if someone from April had visited you on New Years Day, 2020, and asked if you thought we could reduce vehicle miles traveled by 70%, if we could restore clean air to Delhi and Shanghai and LA and Mexico City, if we could ensure that every unhoused family and individual had an indoor bed, a toilet, and a shower. If you're anything like me, you probably would've laughed and said "that's impossible!" And yet, we are doing it right now! We are working together, showing our care for complete strangers!
Now, we may ask ourselves: What else might be possible, if we agree to care for one another first?
States are going to get pummeled by this without federal help. Not only will Mass feel it, but historically one of the first things to go is state aid to cities and towns in Mass. Marty's hoped for 4.4% budget increase will likely get entirely wiped out as the state tries to balance their budget. And that's before we see what happens to pension funds with the carnage in the investment markets.
Tolls are about 1% of the state's annual budget, so they're going to lose that. Gas tax and T fares are each another % or so. Buh bye.
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