BHI State of the Household Survey Fall 1997

Contact: Frank Conte
Director of Communications

New poll on tolls shows MA. residents split

Boston, October 23 - A new statewide survey shows a small majority of Massachusetts residents want the tolls on the state's roads, bridges and tunnels removed. The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston asked almost 600 residents if they would support a plan to remove the tolls and pay for the operating costs of the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Sumner and Williams tunnels and the Tobin Bridge through general revenues and cost saving measures.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of those surveyed favored removing the tolls. Forty-one percent (41%) did not. The remainder offered no opinion.

"Even though elimination of the tolls would speed up traffic and might, in the bargain, represent a substantial cost saving for Massachusetts residents, public opinion seems to be closely divided on this issue," said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute.

©1997-2002 Beacon Hill Institute, All Rights Reserved.

"One reason why the margin of approval was so small," said Tuerck, "is substantial opposition from the western part of the state. The explanation could be a belief on the part of western-area residents that they would not benefit from elimination of the tolls." Fifty-four percent (54%) of the respondents from the 413 area code oppose taking down the tolls, while more than fifty-four percent (54%) of the respondents in the 617 and 508 area codes favor removing the tolls.

The poll showed that persons who identified strongly with either political party were in favor of taking down the tolls. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats and sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans said they were in favor.

The survey of 590 Massachusetts registered voters was conducted October 4-8, 1997 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston applies state-of-the-art economic methods to the analysis of current public policy issues.

Format revised on 7/2/03 15:18