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Congestion pricing

556 bytes added, 02:04, 16 May 2014
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=== Equity questions ===
An oft-cited argument against congestion pricing, specifically HOT lanes, is that they disproportionately hurt low-income travelers. Many politicians in opposition to HOT programs call them "Lexus-lanes", claiming that the toll lanes can will only be used by the rich and thus do not provide the equal opportunity for low-income drivers to reap the benefit of the improved travel time. However, this is a spurious argument on several counts. First, an HOT lane is always an ''HOV'' lane, allowing carpoolers to enjoy the reliably fast lanes for free. Carpooling is a proven and effective strategy for all commuters to save money, and the HOT lane should prioritize carpooling before toll-paying motorists. Second, studies of existing variable-priced lanes such as State Route 91 in Orange County, California, demonstrate that even low-income drivers take advantage of the HOT lanes when they have a highly time-sensitive trip. For many users, the penalty for being late to work or picking up a child from daycare would be more expensive than the one-way toll(CITE). Third, revenues from HOT lanes can be directed to public transit improvements along the same corridor. Increased frequency of service funded by HOT lanes can motivate solo drivers at all income levels to switch to a transit commute. Finally, as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) demonstrated, policies and programs can be enacted to support qualifying low-income users with toll credits, account fee waivers, or even direct subsidies<ref>LACMTA. "Metro ExpressLanes Project: Final Low-Income Assessment". 2010. http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/expresslanes/images/low_income_draft_final_report.pdf</ref>. It is important to note that the 91 ExpressLanes were built as a tolled express alternative and not as a HOT facility, meaning that initially even carpoolers did not travel for free (although this has been changed under the ownership of the Orange County Transportation Authority). As discussed, even low-income drivers may take advantage of the tolled facility, and furthermore, anyone who carpools can still more affordably split the cost of the toll than driving alone, thus giving all passengers the advantages the ExpressLanes offer.
=== Directing revenue to transit ===
* Los Angeles Metro ExpressLanes (I-10 and I-110)
* SR-91 ExpressLanes
* San DiegoI-15 HOT lanes
* Bay Area
=== Elsewhere ===
Bureaucrats, engaged
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