Carpool Lanes to Become Express Toll Roads

Commuters given opportunity to pay their way past anti-pollution measures

By Jackson West
|  Tuesday, Sep 22, 2009  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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Carpool Lanes to Become Express Toll Roads

Tom Lemos

Sort of like the opposite of carbon credits, tolls for single drivers in carpool lanes allow you to pay extra to do more harm to the environment.

Jealous of all those do-gooders speeding past you in the carpool lanes on 580 and 880 while you're stuck, alone, in traffic that moves like molasses in January?

Thanks to a new plan from California transportation officials, you can use your FasTrak to simply pay your way past pollution-reducing efforts and cruise past all the poor suckers.

That's right, in an effort to boost revenue while ignoring the stated purpose of carpool lanes, the state is offering up the extra freeway real estate as express toll lanes.

Of course, in the midst of an economic recession, fewer people are driving to work alone in an effort to save money and miles on their warranty -- leaving diligent carpoolers stuck in traffic while theirbetter-paid boss arrives at work just earlier enough to chide them for their lack of initiative and motivation in arriving late.

Three cheers for exacerbating the consequences of wealth and income disparity!

State officials say the money will go into transportation alternatives, but dollars to donuts it just goes into building more revenue-generating toll roads.

Photo by Tom Lemos.

Jackson West would rather pay extra for express bus and train service, that's for damn sure.

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