By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ The highest court in Massachusetts has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike were illegally being used to pay for the massive Big Dig highway project through downtown Boston.

The 2009 lawsuit alleged the tolls amount to an illegal tax and that tolls can only be used to maintain the road on which they were collected. It sought up to three years in toll rebates for potentially tens of thousands of drivers.

The Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday found that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is lawfully permitted to use toll revenues collected from users of toll roads and tunnels to pay for overhead, maintenance and capital costs associated with non-toll roads, bridges and tunnels.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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