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Congestion pricing in Boston not that popular with voters: Poll

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At least not the higher-charges kind

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Congestion pricing will be a steep climb in the Boston area.

That is the gist of the results of a recent poll of 709 Massachusetts voters that the Boston-based Barr Foundation paid for and conducted in conjunction with advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts.

Only 38 percent of respondents want to see officials charge motorists for driving into the region’s busier areas during busier periods (a.k.a. rush hour). Some 55 percent oppose the idea.

Instead, most respondents would rather see reduced tolls during those same busier periods to encourage people to drive during off-peak hours. Right now, everyone’s tolled at the same rates 24-7.

“We don’t give drivers any incentive to drive at less busy times of day,” Chris Dempsey, the executive director of Transportation for Massachusetts, told the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Joshua Miller.

So might a kind of congestion pricing in reverse—lowering rates when traffic isn’t as congested—take hold?

Not likely. The City of Boston isn’t pursuing congestion pricing of any kind right now. Nor is the commonwealth, which would really have to swing behind the idea given the regional nature of driving in these parts.

Still, New York is tipping toward instituting a form of congestion pricing. It would be the first city in the nation to do to so (and, of course, the largest). Will that tip other towns? Especially when, as in the case of New York, the revenue would go to bolstering creaky public transit? Stay tuned.