Caltrans, MTA to try 2010 HOV toll lanes

LOS ANGELES If you're driving alone on either the 10 Freeway heading into downtown Los Angeles or driving alone on the 110 Harbor Freeway, would you be willing to pay to drive in the carpool lane?

"You know, as you're coming into to downtown it's kind of a pain to get in, so I would pay within reason," said commuter Michael Cox.

Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will start a yearlong experiment in December 2010. A federal grant of $210 million will help pay for an added high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane along the 10 Freeway, between the 605 and 710 freeways.

Transponders for motorists to use the pay-as-you-go service will be available in a few months. If you're part of a carpool or vanpool, you don't have to pay to use the HOV lanes. Early cost estimates to drive alone on the carpool lane during rush hour range from 25 cents to a $1.40 for each mile.

"The money is going to be used for, and it's required by state law, to be reinvested in transit improvements or carpool lane improvements in the corridors where they're generated," said Stephanie Wiggins, MTA. "So it goes back into transit."

"I think it's not right that we're going to charge a toll, you know, with the freeway system the way it is right now," said commuter Stephanie Pelentay.

If you'd like to voice your opinions on the tolls, a series of public hearings have been scheduled.

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