, Salem, MA

May 23, 2013

Salem to host meeting on cash-free tolls

By Bethany Bray

---- — SALEM — The city will host a public forum Tuesday, June 18, on the state’s plan to make Tobin Bridge tolls all electronic, with no cash accepted.

The Route 1 bridge is a main thoroughfare for commuters and traffic between the North Shore and Boston.

The Salem meeting, one of six the state will hold to explain the proposal, will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Tobin Bridge tolls are expected to become all electronic in 2014. Motorists pay electronically using an E-ZPass transponder, which charges the driver’s prepaid account as the car rolls through the tollbooth. For vehicles without an E-ZPass, a camera will capture the license plate number and send a bill for the toll via U.S. mail to the vehicle’s registered owner.

Once implemented, vehicles will not stop to pay the toll and no cash will be collected on the bridge.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, having all-electronic tolls on the Tobin Bridge will help with traffic, cut vehicle emissions and save drivers time from having to stop to pay the toll.

Although electronic toll collection was introduced in the late 1990s, the DOT says “a significant portion” of Tobin Bridge drivers still pay with cash. In 2012, there were 4.1 million cash transactions on the Tobin Bridge, an average of more than 11,000 each day.

Public forums on the issue will also be held in Lynn, Winthrop, Chelsea, Revere and Saugus. For details, see