Retirees will soon have to start paying tolls

The 22News I-Team first exposed the program last year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) State transportation retirees will soon have to pay tolls like the rest of us.

Last year the 22News I-Team first exposed a state program that allows hundreds of retired state workers to travel the MassPike for free.

Now, a little more than a year after we exposed the cost to taxpayers, MassDOT has announced it’s ending the program.

The 22News I-Team has discovered that the program, which gave 600 retired employees of the former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority free transponders to avoid paying tolls, is going away on September 11.

It was apparently supposed to go away in 2009 when the Turnpike Authority was absorbed into the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation, but the program went on, with 82 new retirees receiving the transponders since the merger went through. Officials will send letters to the affected retirees saying their transponders or pass cards that work on the Mass Pike, the Tobin Bridge, and airport tunnels will be deactivated on Sept. 11.

When the 22News I-Team did the story in 2014, the former employees cost the state tens of thousands of dollars.  At that time there were 4,821 non-revenue collecting transponders assigned. We’ve put in a new request to find out how much money the program cost the state in total.

Nearly 200 people who retired before Nov. 1, 2009, will be allowed to keep their transponders.

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