Toll lanes on the 10 and 110: Wide Open Spaces or Cash Grab?

Feb 1, 2013

metro expresslanes

ExpressLanes on the I-10 open on February 23, 2013. Credit: Screenshot via

 On February 23rd Metro ExpressLanes opens the HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes on the I-10 freeway. The I-10 will adhere to most of the same confusing rules as the I-110, but will the toll lanes actually relieve congestion or is Metro just trying to make money?

Metro ExpressLanes is primarily funded with a $210 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds have made two ExpressLanes in each direction by converting the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane and adding a new lane. The condition for the grant is the HOT lanes must allow for speeds over 45 mph at least 90% of the time. Currently, the 110 freeway is meeting that minimum requirement, according to Metro officials.

While carpoolers with at least three people are always able to use the ExpressLanes for free, two-person carpools will have to pay a toll during peak hours on the 10 freeway. Solo drivers in the ExpressLanes will be charged between $0.25 to $1.40 per mile, depending on the congestion at that moment. Single drivers who use the toll lanes less than four times a month may pay an additional $3 monthly for maintenance and revenue costs, but Metro is still analyzing the benefits and consequences of that fee. If the ExpressLanes become overcrowded, tolls will increase to alleviate congestion in those lanes.

Metro estimates generating $18-20 million annually from the toll lanes. After $10 million for operations and maintenance, the balance will be reinvested in transportation improvement.

Are you going to use ExpressLanes? Will it alleviate traffic on these freeways or is it just a money grab? Will it cause more congestion in the general lanes?

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