The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Toll Lanes Slow Freeway Traffic

Apr 15, 2013

Six months after opening toll lanes on one of Los Angeles’s most congested freeways, officials admitted that the toll lanes have actually slowed down traffic in the other lanes – the opposite of what they had promised.

For the privilege of using the fast lanes on the 110 Freeway, drivers have to buy a transponder for $40, pay a $3 fee on top of it every month, and then, for each one-way trip, they have to pay a toll between $4 and $15 (the price is higher when there are more cars on the freeway). And those who refuse to pay all this money are punished with an even slower daily commute than before!

Of course, the extra congestion is not a surprise – especially since officials are using the former car-pool lanes as toll lanes. Carpoolers can still use those lanes without a toll, but they must buy a transponder and pay the monthly fees – which many have chosen not to do.

Los Angeles is not alone. Eighteen metropolitan areas in nine states are charging tolls for “freeway” lanes. It’s another way for public officials to charge extra money for services they are supposed to provide.