Making the Case for HOT Lanes

In this column, CA Lt. Gov. John Garamendi supports a regional plan to create a HOT lane network in the Bay Area, permitting single occupant vehicles to buy into the fast lanes, creating a new source of regional revenue to fund express bus service.
May 12, 2009, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"A hodgepodge of carpool lanes appear and disappear throughout the Bay Area's highway grid, forcing carpool drivers to merge into often heavily congested stretches, particularly near intersections. Under the Transportation 2035 plan, 500 miles of carpool lanes would be converted to HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes, while 300 additional miles of HOT lanes would be constructed over the next 25 years.

By generating revenues from willing HOT drivers, the region will have a somewhat reliable source of revenue to work on other transit projects. Some local transportation officials have urged setting aside specific revenues for public transit, and that is a concept worth exploring, but regardless of the exact funding distribution, the region's transportation infrastructure will clearly be strengthened by granting regional control over these HOT revenues.

While some have raised concerns that HOT lanes give wealthy commuters special access - and this is a criticism I take very seriously - I would argue that broad access and equity in services are best achieved with a package of transportation solutions that includes the expansion of longer distance rapid transit bus service throughout key corridors in East Bay and South Bay counties."

From Media News:
The bill's author, "Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont, said the toll money collected from drivers will cover the costs of developing and operating the express lanes. Surplus toll money will be used to improve public transit, expand the HOT lanes, or make freeway changes to improve traffic flow, he said."

From MTC: HOT Lanes and Bus Enhancements/Draft RTP (pg. 8/12, PDF):
"In addition to funding additional express bus service that would operate in the new lanes, this alternative also would include significant expansion of local bus services to feed the express bus network."

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

Full Story:
Published on Monday, May 4, 2009 in The California Majority Report
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