X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

BOSTON-As the reality of the rising costs of the Big Dig, the massive highway construction project in the heart of the city here, begins to sink in, state legislators are trying to come up with ways to pay for the project. Toll hikes and tax increases on gas–once considered off-limits–are being considered as the costs of the project balloon to $14.475 billion.

Representative Joseph P. Sullivan, co-chairman of the legislature’s transportation committee, did not return calls by press time, but he reportedly called for a look at the possibility of a gas tax increase and restructuring the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority’s toll to pay for the cost overruns.

The Turnpike Authority has already raised the issue of increasing tolls starting in January but Sullivan would like to see the tolls restructured with discount programs. Other suggestions include raising the fees during peak periods and charging for use of the Central Artery. At recent public hearings on toll hikes, the public opposition was clear, but the recognition that the Authority does not have many other options is also increasingly evident. Recent estimates have raised the cost of the project by $100 million.

A gas tax, which was reportedly approved by Richard Dimino, president of the Artery Business Committee, of one cent per gallon could raise approximately $30 million a year. Because of the recent reduction in gas prices, legislators reportedly feel that now could be the right time to raise the gas tax.

The Turnpike Authority is paying about $2 billion of the total cost of the project. The Federal Government originally planned to cover about 85% of Big Dig costs, but last year that figure was capped at $8.5 billion. In the current financial plan for the project, Turnpike Authority toll payers are scheduled to cover 8.7% of Big Dig costs. The Authority has other sources of cash, such as land sales, which would bring its share of the costs to 12.5%. The state is paying for 22.3% of the project, in the form of taxes or fees but has made it clear that it will not pay for any more of the project’s costs.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 3 free articles* across the ALM subscription network every 30 days
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

GlobeSt. NET LEASE Awards 2020Event

These awards honor the industry's most influential and knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information
 

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.