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Plan to let solo drivers pay tolls to use 10, 110 freeway carpool lanes opposed

An experiment to charge solo drivers to use speedier carpool lanes on two of Los Angeles' most congested freeways has hit renewed opposition in Congress as two influential lawmakers — a Republican and a Democrat — say the plan is unfair to taxpayers and would create a two-tier transportation system for rich and poor.

Rep. Gary G. Miller of Diamond Bar, the senior California Republican on the House Transportation Committee, said the toll of up to $1.40 a mile during peak periods "absolutely infuriates me." Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) said it would set up a "traffic system of haves and have-nots."

Miller is exploring legislation to put the brakes on the project on the 110 and 10 freeways even though it is in the late planning stages. He has also gained an important ally in his fight to block similar projects in the future: House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.).

The plan by the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority calls for giving solo commuters the option of paying to use the carpool lanes on the 110 Freeway south of downtown beginning in late 2012 and on the 10 Freeway east of downtown starting in early 2013.

Read the full story here.

--Richard Simon in Washington

Comments () | Archives (14)

It's a dirty rip off and a betrayal of taxpayers and carpoolers. Shame on the crooks who would allow it!!

Haves and have nots? You aren't forced to use the lane. Neither are you forced to pay. Paying for the lane justifies your use. If my wife was in labor, I would pay a fee to get to my destination in a shorter amount of time.

Carpool lanes define obscene.

It's criminal that the toll road may be opened to solo drivers. Don't people remember why diamond lanes and toll roads were opened in the first place? to encourage carpooling. This accomplishes at least 3 major things. Takes one car off the road (reduces emissions); takes one car off the road (reduces traffic volume so everyone can get to where they're going...faster); takes one car off the road (reduces oil/fuel consumption); all of these are important.

Creating extra revenue for the state/toll road operators/local agencies by letting SOLO drivers (not reducing emissions, not reducing traffic volume, not reducing our fuel consumption!) use the "fast" lanes creates a benefit for someone who does not deserve it.

This is like giving a kid a piece of cake as a reward to rat on their sibling. It might feel good to get the cake, but it's the wrong thing do to all around.

Lawmakers ought to step aside and let some real grown-ups run the state if this is the level of their intelligence and long-range thinking.

I also don't approve of letting hybrid and other cars (like the Prius) use carpool lanes. It's not reducing traffic volume! It also is not "exactly" reducing emissions because all the work it takes to make a car in the first place...and all the battery disposal issues that have yet to come upon us are (I think) more trouble than the regular fuel consumption problems from gasoline cars.

How else is the state going to get money from the rich, tax them? Ha! Ha! Ha!

good. high-mileage cars and carpools should be allowed because they arguably are better for the planet and reduce traffic, but giving even more preferential treatment to the rich is insane. if they want to get to work faster, they should start engaging in the political process to get subway and rail lines built faster.

It's easy, how much will this cost to implement? What are the operating costs? So, who gains other than the company implementing this?

"..."traffic system of haves and have-nots."..."

Sort of like subsidizing the purchase of $40,000 electric cars?

Sort of like allowing electric cars to use the car pool lanes with only a driver?

It must be a Republican thing to favor the rich and exclude the poor, yeah, that's it, that's the ticket.

Oh c'mon, Gary, get with the program--more revenues means more tax breaks for people like you! Lose Lose!

Great! Politicians once again kill jobs. The only way to fund transportation projects and get California back to work on the bridges and roadways is toll initiatives such as this one. I have no problem with the "Haves" creating jobs for the middle class and lower middle. There already is a two tier system with the advent of hybrid and flex fuel vehicles. Only the "Haves" can afford them, but we still allow those single riders to use the carpool lane. Why don't we charge those drivers? Only Hippies get a free pass?! Maxine Waters, Get ready for the construction trades to be sending letters and calling your office. Without our support you will not get another term. Quit picking on the construction trades, we are your biggest constituents! Local 2375 member.

Identify the politicians who are trying this, and vote them out of office--then boycott the businesses who support them.

Anybody that still thinks the empty carpool lanes are a good use of tax dollars needs to shut up and grow a brain. The only people that use them are solo drivers breaking the law, like me. I would happily pay the toll, but hey, I have tinted windows so nobody can tell I'm by myself anyway.

Nobody carpools anyway, it was a failed experiment. How much more tax money should be wasted on building more toll lanes that don't do anything but waste a lane???

Stupid morons that want to turn down toll fees!

There is a terrible traffic congestion problem in Los Angeles. Mass transit investment alone will not eliminate it in this lifetime. Congestion adds to air pollution and fossil fuel consumption.

Most of the commentators here and the populist politicians cited in the report would rather stew in the status quo rather than try any innovations that are less than perfect.

Resisting reasonable solutions to problems because they may bring disproportionate benefits to the haves (if you are a liberal) or the have-nots (if you are conservative) is the mark of a reactionary. And they never have any ideas to offer.

The real rich can use the car pool lane anyway...in their limos. - TK


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