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Ten tunnel toll takers tagged

Ten current and former toll collectors at the Ted Williams and Callahan tunnels were charged today with stealing toll money from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which owns the tunnels.

Suffolk County DA Dan Conley says the most common scheme involved taking advantage of the different tolls charged to commercial vehicles and ordinary passenger cars:

As vehicles pass through the tolls, the collector is supposed to hit a switch indicating the type of vehicle passing through and collect the appropriate fare. In most of these instances we've charged, toll collectors would classify some of the taxi cabs or other commercial vehicles as ordinary vehicles, but charge the drivers the higher toll rate and pocket the difference.

Another scheme involved toll collectors manipulating the timing switch used to count cars so that two vehicles would be counted as one. Again, the toll was collected from the uncounted vehicle but pocketed by the toll collector. The dollars stolen from the Turnpike by misclassifying or miscounting vehicles could range anywhere from $20 to $150 per toll collector, per shift, and amount to thousands of dollars.

State Police began their investigation last October. The ten were issued summons to appear in Boston Municipal Court to answer the charges.

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Comments

Now lets cross-check the names of the miscreants against the Mass. legislature - inlaws count.

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Every so often, when I'd take the tunnel back from the airport in my cab, I'd get charged the $4.50 but see $3 ring up. Not that I cared too much, I was too infuriated by the all-too-common bait & switch where I'd pay the toll, hoping to get back to Somerville fast, only to be detoured before hitting the 93 on-ramp and dumped in downtown traffic hell. Leaving me $4.50 lighter, *and* a half-hour later than if I'd gone the back way. I'm still so sore about all that stolen time and money, when I have to take the Pike I go all the way out Soldier's Field so as to deny the Authority their lousy dollar for the Pike Extension.

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with that fucking bullshit the state likes to pull. I love how one night, they didn't tell me that the Newton/Watertown exit was closed so that I had to pay the $1 at Allston.

Last week, I got on 93 North at Atlantic Ave WITHOUT being told that the Storrow Drive exit was closed. Way to send me to Somerville to turn back around. This state is run by fucking idiots.

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shocked I say, to find that the employees whose jobs basically exist to rob the taxpayers... have in fact been robbing the taxpayers as intended. Thank goodness the State Police uncovered this complex scheme!

Tune in next week when the toll collectors fight back with the results of their own seven-month investigation, which revealed that those State Police details who appear to be sleeping in their cruisers... are, believe it or not, sleeping in their cruisers. Astounding.

The Attorney General will also announce that after an extensive inquiry into the Big Dig fiasco, the Division of Weights and Measures has concluded that the project's original price tag was indeed 10x less than the final cost. This ends years of speculation that the two numbers were really the same, and a store clerk had misplaced the decimal point when he affixed the original price tag. In a prepared statement, Bechtel Corp. expressed relief that the numerical discrepancy was caused by massive incompetence, rather than a simple labeling error.

OK enough silliness :-) Small mistake I noticed in the DA's press release: it incorrectly refers to the Callahan tunnel tolls. The Callahan is free; it's the Sumner that has tolls. So far the Globe has picked up on the mistake and fixed it, whereas the Herald hasn't.

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Remember all the hoopla a few months ago about how some toll collectors were allowed to carry handguns on the job? Well... possession of a firearm while in commission of a felony (grand larceny). Mandatory 5 year sentence. pwned.

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One of the guys had 29 years and four months. Wow. Hope he skimmed enough to make up for the pension loss.

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...but right now I have to go outside and kiss the non-Massachusetts soil upon which I now live.

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Maybe Bruce lives in Oregon ...

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He seems like the kind of guy who can pump his own gasoline.

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Yeah, that ban on self-serve is a real head scratcher. It used to be that a pump jockey could actually make enough to get by and maybe even support a family, so they used the "save local jobs" angle. Not sure why they keep it that way now.

Then again, Oregon doesn't usually have tolls and doesn't have permanent ones because the systems of collection and accident nucleation properties cost more than they are worth, so those would-be toll takers have to work somewhere.

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Never been there, but one week we won pub trivia because I'd remembered hearing somewhere that OR and NJ are the only states with that peculiar law.

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The way you worded that suggests that Oregon has temporary or seasonal tolls. Can you tell us more?

Does the town of Arlington, Mass. still prohibit self-serve gas stations?

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I don't know if they still do this, but Oregon DOT sometimes uses tolls to pay off new bridge structures.

I remember there being a toll on a new bridge over the Columbia River, but only for a few years. Once they paid off the bond, they took the toll away.

I don't think they put them on roadways, just some new bridges.

I don't know if Arlington, MA has gone to self-serve yet - probably not. Medford has self-serve, but most stations still have attendants.

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Or Connecticut.

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Because I'm glad you don't live here too.

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