Massachusetts Supreme Court upholds expansionary view of state toll financing - toll subsidies for free roads OK'd
The Massachusetts Supreme Court has given the expansionary interpretation of state toll powers - namely that toll revenues can legitimately be used on facilities away from where they were collected. Boston 'celebrity lawyer' Jan Schlichtmann sued the state Turnpike saying it had unlawfully takes toll revenues from the Turnpike proper and used them to finance the untolled Big Dig or Central Artery Tunnel.
He argued that when toll revenues are spent outside the toll road on which they are collected they become a tax which is beyond the power of the Turnpike Authority.
Saying the plaintiffs look unlikely to prevail on the merits of their case a judge in Massachusetts has denied them an injunction against the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
The law suit joined by some 2300 Turnpike users and organized by class action lawyer Jan Schlichmann claims that use of Turnpike toll revenues to maintain and service the debt of the untolled Big Dig project makes such tolls into taxes, which are therefore, the suit claims, illegal and unconstitutional.