Mass. Governor Healey says she is ‘not putting tolls at the border’

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Tibbits-Nutt made headlines last week after telling advocates that a task force she is leading examining new ways to pay for state transportation costs is looking at every option, including imposing tolls.
“It’s not how we do things,” Healey told Radio Boston host Tiziana Dearing Tuesday. “It’s not how we operate.”
Governor Maura Healey, appearing on WBUR’s Radio Boston, called state Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt’s recent comments about imposing tolls for drivers crossing into Massachusetts “a very poor choice of words.”
Speaking at an event hosted by a group that advocates for safe, walkable communities, Tibbits-Nutt said that as the leader of the task force, “once I say it, it is now a policy.”
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The comments were first reported by CommonWealth Beacon. In a statement Monday, Healey said the secretary’s suggestions “do not represent the views of this administration, and to be clear, I am not proposing tolls at any border.”
The governor, said on radio that the state is instead focused on other work, such as securing federal funding for projects like the Allston Multimodal expansion and the rebuilding of the aging Cape Cod bridges.
“That’s the work that we’re focused on,” Healey said on the radio Tuesday. “And we’re gonna keep laser focused on the months ahead.”
Healey also rejected the premise that by so publicly shutting down the toll idea, she could discourage the task force’s work in general.
“I’m going to leave it to the experts that I appointed to that taskforce,” she said. “We’ll see what they come forward with in terms of recommendations. . . . I am focused on affordability. I am focused on competitiveness. I’m not putting tolls at the border.”
The task force, which first convened in February, is composed of public and private sector leaders and is chaired by Tibbits-Nutt. It is tasked with creating a set of recommendations for a transportation finance plan, which it will deliver to the governor by the end of the year.
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Tibbits-Nutt, formerly the undersecretary, has been serving as acting secretary of transportation since September 2023 after her predecessor, Gina Fiandaca, resigned from the post abruptly after fewer than eight months on the job.
Tibbits-Nutt previously served on the MassDOT board of directors and as the vice-chair of the Fiscal Management and Control Board, the MBTA’s former oversight body. She also worked as executive director of the 128 Business Council, an organization that offers shuttle services along the Route 128 West corridor.
The secretary’s comments quickly drew the ire of the governor’s political adversaries.
The conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a government watchdog group, called for Healey to fire Tibbits-Nutt.
The state Senate’s GOP caucus said in a statement that her comment “has the very real potential to inflict serious damage to our competitiveness.”
The state Republican party slammed the secretary’s speech as “an abhorrent display of bad policy.”
However, Tibbits-Nutt’s statement gained the support of at least one powerful lawmaker — Senate President Karen E. Spilka.
“I believe that — and I’ve said this publicly — if tolls are such a great idea for the Turnpike, we should look at them for funding for other areas of the state,” Spilka told reporters Monday after speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “I have filed, in the past, bills to put tolls at the border. So I do believe that we need to be creative about our funding.”
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Material from State House News Service was used in this report.
Samantha J. Gross can be reached at samantha.gross@globe.com. Follow her @samanthajgross.

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