Report shows jump in tickets issued on Mass. Pike | NECN
Staties slap drivers, filling Pike’s coffers - BostonHerald.com
Radar-wielding (Incorrect, should say LIDAR) troopers are gunning for Mass. Pike leadfoots at an accelerated pace, slapping them with hundreds more costly tickets this year in what critics say is just another money grab by the budget-bleeding agency.
Speeding citations that start at $100 and climb quickly have been in the high-speed lane for two years straight, according to new statistics obtained by the Herald.
Tickets written in the first three months of this year skyrocketed by 23 percent, or about 2,300, over the same period two years ago.
This year, 844 more tickets were written compared with the same three-month period last year, records show.
Pike commuters say tickets, toll hikes and a possible gas tax increase are exhausting.
“It doesn’t seem fair to target people who are already victims,” said Mike Kelleher, an East Boston activist who started the anti-toll-increase group Stop the Pike Hike.
State Sen. Susan C. Fargo (D-Lincoln), who drives the Pike every day, said the jump in tickets smacks of an “unfortunate” money grab.
“Times are rough for everybody right now. People are watching their pennies very carefully,” she said.
A Pike toll increase of up to $7 for some is scheduled to go into effect July 1, but legislators have moved to prevent taxpayers from being hit with both toll and sales tax increases.
Overall, more than 12,000 speeding tickets were given out on the Mass. Pike during the first quarter of this year. At that rate, speeders would be hit with more than 48,000 tickets this year - that’s 131 tickets each day.
The vast majority of speeding tickets are given out by Troop E, the state police unit assigned to patrol the 138-mile toll road.
Ramped-up ticketing in 2008 was projected to bring in more than $1 million, but a Pike spokesman yesterday denied the ticket spree is related to the budget crunch brought on by the Big Dig.
“The turnpike state police officers issue speeding tickets and other violations based solely on the fact that they take public safety and the law very seriously,” said Colin Durrant, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Transportation.
But, as Kelleher said, it’s Pike commuters who keep digging deeper: “Why are they targeting drivers who are already adding to the revenue, as opposed to the people who don’t?”