- Saturday November 3rd, 2012 :: 09:29 a.m. PDT
High Occupancy Toll (HOT) ExpressLanes to open on 110 freeway on Sat, Nov. 10 - Metro Los Angeles
The Source - METRO Transportation News and Views
Metro ExpressLanes, an innovative project to reduce traffic congestion, will debut Los Angeles County’s first HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:01 a.m., opening 11 miles of carpool lanes on the 110 Harbor Freeway to solo drivers who pay an electronic toll.
Only solo drivers using the ExpressLanes will be charged a toll. Carpools, vanpools, buses and motorcycles will be able to travel toll-free in the 110 Metro ExpressLanes, which will be located between Adams Boulevard and the 91 freeway. But all motorists will need a FasTrak® account and transponder to travel in the 110 Metro ExpressLanes when tolling begins on November 10.
“The opening of the Metro ExpressLanes demonstration project on the 110 will provide a unique opportunity to explore and evaluate a new transportation option that could potentially create faster commutes, greater capacity and better air quality throughout the region,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich.
Metro ExpressLanes is a one-year demonstration project overseen by Metro, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and several other mobility partners to enhance travel options and ease congestion on two of the region’s busiest freeways. The project converts 11 miles of HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on the I-110 Harbor Freeway and 14 miles of HOV lanes on the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway (between Alameda Street and the 605) to HOT lanes that allow solo drivers to use the carpool lanes by paying a toll. The I-110 ExpressLanes are the first to open, and the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway ExpressLanes will open early next year.
When solo drivers begin to travel on the 110 ExpressLanes, all commuters will benefit—whether they pay a toll or not—because the ExpressLanes will redistribute traffic across all lanes of the 110 freeway,” said LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who also is a Metro Board Member and Chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Congestion Pricing. “Shifting solo drivers who are willing to pay tolls into the empty space in the ExpressLanes will speed commuting time and travel for all drivers. Everyone wins when freeway traffic flows more smoothly.”
The tolls will vary depending on traffic. To avoid traffic back-ups, sensors will be used to measure congestion in the Metro ExpressLanes and will increase the toll from 25 cents a mile to a maximum of $1.40 a mile as more vehicles enter the Metro ExpressLanes. Overhead electronic signs will display the current toll being assessed so solo drivers can make a choice.
“This new congestion pricing approach has worked well in other cities. We believe Metro Expresslanes will be successful in Los Angeles as well as we improve transportation options today and into the future by reinvesting the net toll revenues in transit and carpool improvements in the corridor,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles. “The project also provided a big boost to the region’s economy by creating an estimated 2,400 new construction jobs, and it will help the economy even more by increasing mobility.”
To travel in the Metro ExpressLanes, drivers can use their existing FasTrak® transponders or obtain an ExpressLanes FasTrak® transponder. To travel toll-free, carpool and vanpool drivers will need a switchable FasTrak® transponder from Metro to use the ExpressLanes. The switchable transponder allows drivers to indicate the number of occupants in the vehicle (1, 2 or 3+) and can be used on all toll systems in California.
To open an account and receive an ExpressLanes switchable transponder:
• Visit www.metroexpresslanes.net
• Call 511 and say “ExpressLanes”
• Visit walk-in centers at 500 W. 190th Street in Gardena or at the El Monte Station, 3501 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte
• Mail an application, which is available online, to Metro ExpressLanes, PO Box 3878, Gardena, CA 90247
The costs vary depending on payment methods, but drivers who open their accounts with a credit or debit card will pay $40 and the transponder deposit will be waived. The $40 will be applied to any tolls incurred while driving solo on the Metro ExpressLanes. There is a minimum balance threshold of $10, and a $3 monthly account fee. The monthly fee is waived after four trips in the Metro ExpressLanes and/or on transit in the ExpressLanes corridor.
Discounts are available. Members of the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) can open a Metro ExpressLanes FasTrak® account at a discounted price of $32 by visiting www.AAA.com/metroexpresslanes or visiting their local Auto Club officeIn a first for an ExpressLanes project, low-income comuters can receive a $25 toll credit when setting up an Equity Plan account, and the transponder deposit will be waived. They must reside in Los Angeles County and have an annual income below $37,061 for a family of three. There is a limit of one Equity Plan account per household.
“We are urging everyone to get their FasTrak® accounts opened now so they can be part of this historic opening of the first ExpressLanes in Los Angeles County,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “This is a great opportunity to be on the leading edge of an innovative new project that will ease traffic congestion, improve air quality and provide new travel options on the 110 on November 10th and on the 10 when the ExpressLanes open there next year.”
Transit riders also will benefit from the ExpressLanes project. It is adding 59 more clean fuel buses and 100 vanpools to the routes. The project also has expanded and updated transit facilities and improved downtown parking.
A first in the nation, the project will link transit usage with toll credits by offering transit riders a $5 toll credit for every 32 one-way bus trips taken along the route. Another first is a Loyalty Program that will reward carpoolers and vanpoolers for taking Metro ExpressLanes by entering them into drawings for free gas cards each month that they use Metro ExpressLanes.
The Metro ExpressLanes program is a $290 million project, primarily funded by a $210 million congestion reduction demonstration grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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