In this opinion piece, Roger Snoble of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses why the region's mobility would benefit from toll lanes on highways.
"First, the freeways aren't free. L.A. County commuters waste, on average, 72 hours a year stuck in traffic, which translates into more than $1,000 in excess fuel costs and lost productivity. And congestion will get worse as our population grows. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects that by 2030, average freeway speeds will drop 40% if we do nothing."
"It may seem counterintuitive, but making this change will squeeze a lot more capacity out of our congested freeways -- and will benefit drivers of all classes."
"Building new freeways, or even expanding existing ones, is extremely difficult. The region is so built up, and the environmental and funding hurdles so onerous, it would be decades before any construction was complete. That's why Metro and Caltrans sought a federal grant to test congestion-reduction pricing on the San Bernardino Freeway between downtown and El Monte and the Foothill Freeway from Duarte to Pasadena, and on the transit way in the center of the Harbor Freeway if there's funding left over. The demonstration project could be in place by the end of 2010."