Tolls on the Bridges--a Tired Old Idea

The following is a statement from the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce

The Cape Cod Commission floated the idea of tolls on the Sagamore and Bourne bridges last week with no outreach to public officials or business leaders.  This is not new, as the Cape Cod Commission has floated this idea several times over the past twenty years, all to no avail.   Back then, they called it “peak period pricing”.  Now they call it “congestion pricing”.  Whatever they call it, it was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.  It sends the wrong message, especially in these difficult economic times, to “tax” visitors who come to Cape Cod to spend their money.  That money which is created by those tourists, in turn goes back into the coffers of the State and cities and towns. The Tourism industry is the third largest industry in the State and the number one industry on Cape Cod. 

Whatever they call it, it was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.

The Cape Cod Commission has suggested that tourists should help pay for the transportation projects on Cape Cod since they contribute to the congestion.  They claim they might be able to generate $35 million annually which would not include the cost of implementing such a system and the manpower to collect the revenue.  They have given no thought as to how this tax would impact the tourism and the business economy on Cape Cod.

Local businesses on and off Cape must travel over both bridges, sometimes several times daily, in order to service their customers.  The cost to transport goods and services would increase dramatically and affect all types of local businesses in the region.  Tourists would certainly think twice before coming to Cape Cod, which would impact thousands of businesses that depend on this industry.  Tolls on the bridges are a nonsensical way of generating revenue.  It ends up solving nothing, since the ultimate loss of revenue would be far greater than what could possibly be achieved. 

Loss of jobs is just what we don’t need on Cape Cod.  And yet, the Cape Cod Commission thinks it is good timing to consider this idea once again. It’s another example of how this planning agency has no clue about economic development and how it generates revenue for cities and towns.

This idea will not manage traffic congestion.  Instead, it will exacerbate an already fragile economy.

Marie Oliva
President & CEO
Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce
70 Main Street
Buzzards Bay, MA  02532

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