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Stephanie Wiggins - 7/7/09

Live Chat Transcript

Stephanie Wiggins

Stephanie Wiggins
Metro Executive Officer for ExpressLanes Demonstration Project
ExpressLanes Live Chat
12 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, 2009

Topic: ExpressLanes are Coming Soon, July 7, 2009

How do they work? How much will they cost?

For more info on ExpressLanes visit metro.net/expresslanes

Hello everyone. I'm Stephanie Wiggins. I'm looking forward to your questions and comments during our live chat.

As you know, Los Angeles County has some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation. We believe that one of the ways to reduce congestion on our freeways is to introduce the ExpressLanes concept.

ExpressLanes, or High Occupancy Toll Lanes, will charge a fee ONLY to solo drivers who choose to use the toll lanes. Buses, vanpoolers and carpoolers who are currently driving in carpool lanes will still be able to use them FOR FREE. The general purpose lanes will continue to remain toll free.

Prices will vary, depending upon the level of congestion in the toll lanes – as congestion increases, the price will increase, and as congestion decreases, the price will decrease. By incorporating this type of pricing strategy we hope to encourage more people to use transit, join a vanpool, carpool or encourage solo drivers to travel at off-peak hours. There also will be toll mitigation for low-income users.

Los Angeles County is not the first to introduce this idea. ExpressLanes are helping to ease traffic congestion in many other parts of the U.S. and other parts of the world. Our primary goal with this demonstration project is to move more people, not more vehicles.

ExpressLanes will be a one-year demonstration project that will begin in December 2010. So right now we need your input to assist us in making some decisions on how these toll lanes should be managed.

Here are a couple of things we would like your feedback on:

  • What should the per-mile toll range be to manage traffic on the ExpressLanes? We are currently looking at 25 cents to $1.40 per mile. We estimate the average toll lane cost for the I-10 corridor will be $6, based on average trip length, and $4 for the I-110.
  • Should everyone using the ExpressLanes be required to have a transponder device? Because we are converting existing carpool lanes, we have limited space in which to operate the toll lanes. Therefore we are suggesting that everyone have a transponder and be considered a customer, whether they are paying a toll or not. This will allow us to manage the lanes more effectively.

Send me your comments, questions, concerns and I will respond starting at noon, Tuesday, July 7. I look forward to hearing from you.

Stephanie