But one thing turnpike users can count on next year is more speeding tickets.
Newton and Framingham residents have been promised turnpike sound barriers for years, or in some cases decades, but they won’t be getting noise relief any time soon, said the Turnpike Authority Monday.
“It’s just the fault of money. There are a lot of things we have to do for safety and maintenance of the highway before we put up a sound barrier,” said recently appointed Turnpike Authority Executive Director Alan LeBovidge at an authority board meeting yesterday.
One thing turnpike users can count on next year is more speeding tickets.
The authority budgeted a $1.2 million increase in ticket revenue for 2008 after bringing in $1.5 million less than expected this year.
Turnpike traffic tickets have dropped over the past year-and-a-half as turnpike police were pulled from speed patrols to Big Dig safety details after the summer 2006 tunnel ceiling collapse.
State police are expecting to begin to recover ticket earnings now that the Big Dig project is complete, said authority spokesman Mac Daniel.
“Increased safety may lead to more revenue,” LeBovidge said, drawing chuckles from board members as they reviewed the authority’s budget.
After combing authority finances for new revenue and potential savings, LeBovidge determined that West Newton residents, who implored the board at a November meeting, will not get a $1.1 million sound barrier.
On a 1992 list of 17 priority barriers, Newton has the top six.
Both Newton and Framingham residents have shared stories with authority staff of the constant noise and debris that comes off the highway and into their backyards.
LeBovidge said that a Framingham sound fence near Gina Circle was not on the 15-year-old list and would not be a priority, even if the authority had the necessary funding.
“I’m absolutely outraged,” said Rep. Pam Richardson, D-Framingham. “This is unbelievable, this is exactly why people lose faith in government.”
Authority staff said the promise that former Turnpike Authority Chairman Matthew Amorello made to construct the sound fence in 2006 was unreasonable, and that building it would be unfair to lawmakers and residents who have pushed for other Framingham barriers.
“It was promised to us, and we went home and they threw (Matt Amorello) out, and we’re back to square one,” said Framingham resident Louis Rufo, 79, who has been pushing for a barrier since the 1960s.
MetroWest Daily News staff writer Lindsey Parietti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.