Off-peak toll pricing measure seen as punishing commuters

Commuters voiced outrage yesterday as news emerged that the state is looking at congestion pricing that could have toll-road drivers and rail passengers paying more to go to work during rush hours than off-peak travelers.

A MassDOT pilot program, included in the state budget now being reviewed on Beacon Hill, is aimed at easing congestion on highways by offering commuters steep discounts for avoiding peak traffic hours. But people who drive to work and straphangers with 9-to-5 jobs told the Herald that feels like they would be penalized for going to work…

The pilot program seeks to “test the technological feasibility of charging toll rates that are different depending on the time of day, with the goal of relieving congestion for motorists.” Budget negotiators adopted the measure into the final budget, including the clarification that it would only lower tolls during off-peak hours, as opposed to raising them during peak times. Toll discounts would be at least 25 percent.