Newspaper Takes a Run at Mass Pike’s AET Conversion

The MetroWest Daily News political editor Rick Holmes isn’t a fan of AET, starting with the gantries: “I don’t see any signs telling drivers that money has just been sucked out of their accounts, let alone how much money is deducted at each gantry.” He takes note of privacy concerns, the “free rides” for some but not all motorists, and the fact that toll rates have yet to be established. (Otherwise, he’s on board with AET conversion.)

On MassDOT’s new “tollpayer advocate,” the person designated to address customer concerns about the toll system, the newspaper tries to add some detail to the so-far sketchy profile of Leonard “Cappy” Fournier, MassDOT’s choice for the position. Fournier, identified as “former owner of Stones Public House and one-time Turnpike Authority employee,” tells the newspaper “he was instructed not to speak to the press.” Jacquelyn Goddard, a MassDOT spokeswoman, only says, “The tollpayer advocate serves without compensation and advocates on behalf of tollpayers to ensure that their interests are fully understood and considered. . . .”