October was a busy time in the district, and I am grateful to have met with so many of my constituents to hear their concerns.
As we transition into November, please be mindful of the importance of voting. Whether it be the local, state, or presidential election, do utilize your right to vote. Included in this newsletter is important information about early voting taking place in the district.
As always, please let me know what your priorities are and what you would like me to focus on before the new legislative session begins in January. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Team G.R.E.E.N., a student-teacher volunteer organization of North Attleboro Middle School, invited me to a celebration of their 5th year anniversary.
Students from Beijing, China on an exchange program with Wayland High School were welcomed to Beacon Hill as I gave them a State House tour.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRONIC TOLLING
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), has announced that as of October 28th, the new All Electronic Tolling (AET) system for the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) has gone live. The primary purpose of this new system is to increase safety, alleviate congestion, and reduce Greenhouse gases. The following FAQ's explain important information to know about the new AET system implemented in Massachusetts.
How does AET work?
AET gantries installed at 16 locations on I-90 contain sensors that will electronically register toll charges as vehicles pass under them. Drivers will no longer need to stop at toll plazas and will be able to maintain a safe highway speed. Vehicles that have E-ZPass transponders will be automatically charged to their E-ZPass account. Because drivers are not required to use transponders, vehicles without an E-ZPass transponder will be sent an invoice as the gantry will photograph the vehicle's license plate.
How were gantry rates set?
Gantry rates were developed by calculating the per mile cost on several sections of I-90. The set costs will be as close to the cost per mile that exists today. The total revenue generated on the Western Turnpike and Metropolitan Highway System will remain nearly the same to the total revenue generated by the previous toll system.
Will people pay more if they don't have a Massachusetts E-ZPass transponder?
Yes. MassDOT has three rates at each gantry:
One rate is for users of E-ZPass transponders issued by the state of Massachusetts
One rate is for users of compatible transponders issued by other states
One rate is for vehicles without a transponder that will be billed using the "Pay-By-Plate" system. The billing will include the gantry charge and a processing fee.
What kind of personal data will the gantries collect?
Both law and policy requires MassDOT to ensure the privacy of all motorists. All data collected is done for billing purposes only and will remain secure and confidential. Any data collected is about the vehicle license plate, transponder, location, and time. Speed data is used to ensure an accurate image capture of vehicle license plates and cannot legally be used for any traffic law enforcement purposes.
What will happen to the existing Toll Plazas?
Drivers will gain the full benefits of the AET system once the toll booths have been removed to ensure they can use the highways at safe speeds. The process of demolishing current toll plazas will begin as soon as AET goes live. Work will begin to demolish the center lanes of the plazas and reconstruct portions of the roadway. This work will be completed in 30 days or less. Following this phase, drivers will be able to travel through the center lanes of the toll plazas as the rest of the removal process takes place. All work is to be completed by the end of 2017.
Senator Ross Announces Office Hours in November
Senator Ross and his staff will be holding office hours at locations throughout the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District to provide constituents with an opportunity to meet Senator Ross and discuss any matters of importance to them. Constituents may contact Senator Ross' office at (617) 722-1555 or by email at email@example.com to register for a meeting in advance whether in the district or at the State House in Boston.
Wednesday, November 2nd
Norfolk Town Hall, 1 Liberty Lane, Norfolk
Tuesday, November 15th
Attleboro Senior Center, 25 S Main Street, Attleboro
Monday, November 21st (Staff)
Wrentham Senior Center, 400 Taunton Street, Wrentham