MassDOT is currently in the process of transitioning to All Electronic Tolling (AET) for I-90, both directions at all of the Boston tunnels and both directions at all of travel for the Tobin Memorial Bridge.
MassDOT intends to test AET software during the summer of 2016 and to activate AET by the end of the year. A previously scheduled "go live" date in the month of October will occur if software testing goes as planned before September.
How does AET Work
AET gantries, placed over the road and equipped with sensors, will electronically register tolls from vehicles that pass under any gantry. Drivers will no longer have to stop at a toll plaza and will be able to maintain a safe highway speed.
If a vehicle has an E-ZPass transponder, the toll is automatically charged to the customer’s E-ZPass account that the transponder is registered to.
If a vehicle does not have an E-ZPass transponder, cameras mounted on the gantry will capture a photograph of the vehicle’s license plate and the registered owner of the vehicle will be sent an invoice. Customers who do not use an E-ZPass transponder will pay a “pay-by-plate” surcharge in addition to the toll cost.
Drivers who currently have no E-ZPass transponder are encouraged to obtain one, free of cost. For more information on obtaining a transponder, visit the E-ZPass web page.
Tobin Bridge AET
Currently, passenger vehicles traveling southbound over the Tobin Bridge that do not have an E-ZPass transponder pay $3.00 under the “pay-by-plate” system. Passenger vehicles with an E-ZPass transponder pay a discounted price of $2.50.
When AET goes live state-wide, MassDOT intends to begin collecting tolls on the Tobin Bridge for south and northbound vehicles. However, with electronic tolls activated, tolls on the Tobin will be "revenue-neutral" in the sense that the current toll charge will be reduced by 50 per cent and passenger vehicles with E-ZPass traveling southbound will pay $1.25 and northbound E-ZPass passenger vehicles will pay $1.25.
Qualified residents of Chelsea and Charlestown will continue to be eligible for a 20-cent discount (each direction) for the Tobin Bridge tolls. To qualify for the discount, a vehicle owner must live in zip codes 02129 or 02150.
AET in Sumner/Callahan/Ted Williams Tunnels
As part of the new AET system, tolls will be collected in both directions for use of the Sumner, Callahan and Ted Williams tunnels.
The electronic tolling will be "revenue neutral" so that under AET, the fare in each direction will be half of what drivers currently pay for traveling in one direction.
Installation of AET Gantries
All of the AET gantries have been installed on I-90 including those in: Lee (mile marker 10.01), Blandford (mile marker 26.25), Westfield (mile marker 40.86), Ludlow (mile marker 57.68), Warren (mile marker 69.78), Charlton (mile marker 89.10), Hopkinton (mile marker 104.86), Southborough (mile marker 109.07), Framingham (mile marker 113.92), Weston (mile marker 120.21), Newton (mile marker 126.18), Brighton (mile marker 130.04), Allston (mile marker 131.15)
Tobin Bridge AET installation has been completed.
Only one gantry location state-wide is still pending installation and that site is the Sumner/Callahan tunnel location.
AET equipment will be placed on existing structures at the Ted Williams Tunnel instead of a new gantry being constructed.
What will happen to the existing Toll Plazas?
Once AET "goes live," all 24 existing toll plazas will be demolished and the connecting interchanges will be reconfigured to enable more efficient connections to connecting roadways
What will the pricing structure be for AET?
MassDOT has hired a consultant to study pricing options for AET, is in the process of hiring a tollpayer advocate, and will be conducting a public input process to gather feedback before establishing a pricing structure.
The goal is to keep tolls revenue-neutral, so that, for example, after AET is activated, an E-ZPass driver traveling from the New York border on I-90 to Boston will pay the same amount as what that driver currently pays now. In some instances, some drivers will pay no toll if they enter and exit I-90 between certain gantry locations. Some of these locations are in the Springfield and Worcester areas.
Once the public input process is completed, members of the MassDOT Board will review the pricing and vote on the pricing structure.
Why is AET being implemented?
The primary reasons MassDOT is transitioning to AET is to increase safety for the traveling public so that there will be no dramatic speed reductions and congestion which occurs now at toll plazas and also to reduce vehicle emissions.
MassDOT is committed to ensuring the privacy of all motorists. All data collected will remain secure and kept confidential.
During testing phases of AET, drivers may notice a brief camera flash as they pass under a gantry.