CA Senate Approves HOT Lane Legislation

The CA Senate voted to approve the HOT lane/transit investment plan of the LA MTA for two freeways, making LA eligible for $210 million in federal congestion pricing funds if the governor signs the bill.

State Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) has written legislation to authorize conversion of high occupancy vehicle (carpool) lanes on two southern CA freeways to allow single-occupant-vehicles to use carpool lanes – for a fee that would vary with the rate of congestion. That legislation, SB 1422, was approved Saturday, August 30, one day before the legislative deadline to send bills to the governor for signature.

Legislative enabling authorization is necessary in order for project manager Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to receive "a $210.6 million federal grant that would pay for toll plazas, road and rail improvements, and a fleet of clean-fuel buses that would run as a rapid line along the route."

After the NY State Assembly rejected a $350 congestion pricing plan for NYC in April, 2007 those funds become eligible for other regions. Chicago received $153 million for their congestion pricing parking plan (see related link).

The conversions of the high occupancy vehicle lanes to so-called high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes would apply to "one carpool lane in each direction on a 16.5-mile-stretch of the 110 Freeway and the two carpool lanes in each direction on a 14-mile stretch of the 10 Freeway."

"SB 1422 would require the MTA to provide a system for discounting tolls for low-income commuters.

Toll revenue would pay for mass transit improvements to further reduce gridlock, said Richard Katz, an MTA board member and former assemblyman."

However, the CA legislature reacted as its NY counterpart - wary of the tolling concept, and was even controversial within the party sponsoring the bill.

"This reflects a view that if you have money, you get to go in the fast lane and if you don't you are stuck in congestion," Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) said during a Senate debate." She abstained from voting, amounting to a 'no' vote.

"Another Los Angeles Democrat, Sen. Gloria Romero, voted no, saying the toll lanes would create "an undue burden on low-income people."

Unlike an earlier rendition of the plan (before the project was eligible to receive the Urban Partner Agreement grant), 2+ person carpoolers would not be charged. [See related link].

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

Full Story: Deadline nears on proposed L.A. County toll lanes
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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

CORRECTION: 2-person carpools to be tolled

Readers should be directed to the more recent article provided above:
LA gets legislative OK to take NYC's $210m indicating "HOV3 vehicles will continue to ride the lanes free but vehicles with one or two occupants will be tolled at the same rate, according to an agreement. Conversion from HOV2 to HOV3 can be phaded in on one of the facilities."
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Bad legislation

HOT lanes are a poorly thought out idea. It's just another way to redsitribute SOVs into the HOV lane, thus expanding capacity at the expense of HOVs, busses, vanpools, etc.
This certainly will add VMTs (vehicle miles traveled) rater than reduce them, and facilitate wealthy commuters from the far outlying suburbs driving habits. Where is the transportation equity in that?
In a sensible, environmentally appropriate world, all the lanes would be tolled EXCEPT the HOV lane.

rob bregoff

How do you make full tolling possible w/out the incremental step

Rob,

You keep attacking HOT lanes, but then seem to support full highway tolling. How do you propose to get fulling highway tolling implemented without the incremental step of getting people used to variable tolling?

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