Massachusetts motorists will begin paying higher cash tolls in late March, but that increase could be temporary if lawmakers pass legislation to increase the state's gas tax to 42.5 cents per gallon.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority yesterday approved, in a four-to-one vote, a two-part toll hike that will generate an additional $100 million per year for the authority, according to board member Mary Connaughton. MassPike needs the additional revenue to help meet current operating expenses and debt service costs.

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