Express Lanes on a Toll Road?
The second section of express lanes opened Wednesday on Veterans Expressway / SR 589 in Tampa, marking the completion of Phase 2A of the Florida Express Lanes project for west central Florida, reports Meredyth Censullo for WFLA News on May 23. That makes for nine miles of express lanes in each direction on the 57-mile toll road operated by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, a business unit of the Florida Department of Transportation created by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002.
Initially, there will not be a premium charge for using the express lanes, although motorists will be penalized for lacking a transponder allowing electronic toll collection via SunPass. Cash or TOLL-BY-PLATE, which can be used in the general use lanes, isn't an option.
An earlier post was critical of the express lanes planned for Florida's Turnpike, calling them an example of "double tolling." However, all road users, including carpools, are tolled only once, regardless of which lane they select. Only one lane will be dynamically priced later this year (completing Phase 2B), which "will include the general toll, plus the variable express lane toll when applicable," according to last summer's Florida Express Lanes newsletter.
The higher-priced toll, for motorists with SunPasses willing to pay a premium, will allow for faster speeds, illustrating why some planners prefer to use the term, value pricing, rather than congestion pricing. In addition, registered buses and vanpools are exempt from paying express lanes tolls.
Hat tip to IBTTA SmartBrief.