Gov. Healey Stands by Transportation Secretary Despite Border Toll Controversy

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey reaffirms support for Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt despite controversy over border toll proposal and criticism of pick-up truck owners. Healey dismisses the idea of expanding highway tolls to state borders.

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Israel Ojoko
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Gov. Healey Stands by Transportation Secretary Despite Border Toll Controversy

Gov. Healey Stands by Transportation Secretary Despite Border Toll Controversy

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has reaffirmed her support for Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt, despite recent controversy over the secretary's comments about exploring border tolls and criticism of pick-up truck owners.

Tibbits-Nutt had suggested that a transportation funding task force convened by Healey would consider options such as charging tolls at the state's borders, increasing fees on transportation network companies, and raising payroll taxes.

Healey distanced herself from the idea of expanding highway tolls to the borders, emphasizing that Tibbits-Nutt's comments do not represent the views of the administration. "I am not proposing tolls at any border," Healey stated. The governor acknowledged that Tibbits-Nutt's choice of words, including remarks about using her policymaking power and 'weaponizing' her position, was "very poor" but said they have moved on from the issue.

The border toll proposal and Tibbits-Nutt's comments criticizing police for not issuing enough speeding citations have faced opposition from Republican leaders and conservative groups, who have called for her resignation.

However, Healey expressed confidence in Tibbits-Nutt's leadership and the administration's commitment to ensuring a strong state transportation system. "I have confidence in the secretary and her leadership," Healey affirmed.

Why this matters: The controversy highlights the challenges facing Massachusetts in securing sustainable transportation funding and the political sensitivities around proposals like border tolls. As the state confronts aging infrastructure and growing transportation needs, the debate over funding sources is likely to remain a contentious issue.

Healey convened the transportation funding task force to craft recommendations for a long-term sustainable finance plan, which is expected to be delivered by the end of 2024. While the governor has not ruled out pursuing tax and fee increases, she emphasized her focus on affordability and competitiveness. Healey noted that the state already has hundreds of millions of dollars more per year available for transportation investments due to a voter-approved surtax on high-income residents.

Key Takeaways

  • MA Gov. Healey reaffirmed support for Transportation Sec. Tibbits-Nutt despite controversy.
  • Healey dismissed Tibbits-Nutt's suggestion of border tolls, saying it does not represent admin's views.
  • Tibbits-Nutt's comments on using policymaking power and 'weaponizing' position were criticized as "very poor".
  • Healey expressed confidence in Tibbits-Nutt's leadership and commitment to a strong transportation system.
  • MA faces challenges in securing sustainable transportation funding, with debate over funding sources ongoing.