Dallas to charge solo drivers to use HOV lanes

Link to article here.

Officials even admit the HOV lanes on LBJ are 'underused.' In other words they're admitting the failure of government social engineering. So what;s their solution? More social engineering, higher taxation, and manipulation. The whole impetus for this plan is due to a private, foreign toll corporation, Cintra, who operates the new toll lanes on I-635. TxDOT wants every HOV lane that potentially feeds into the privately-run toll lanes to allow single occupancy drivers like Cintra's lanes in order to encourage more drivers to pay them tolls.

It's key to note TxDOT will be operating and profiting off these HOV lanes (that taxpayers have already built and paid for), not the North Texas Tollway Authority. So TxDOT will be able to make money off this scheme without accountability to local taxpayers. Rather than restrict the use of these lanes to those who can afford tolls or who have the ability to carpool (which aren't many based on their own admission), they should be opening them up to ALL motorists. It's yet another way to extort money from taxpayers by an unelected commission.

Plan will admit solo drivers to HOV lanes... for a price
June 9, 2014

DALLAS — In North Texas, every square foot of pavement is precious real estate to help keep us moving. That’s why underused HOV lanes on LBJ Freeway are getting a closer look from the Texas Department of Transportation.

By early 2016, on drivers in "single occupancy vehicles" (SOVs) on LBJ between Interstate 30 and North Central Expressway will be able to pay a still-undetermined amount to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) carpool lane. The concept is called "managed lanes."

“Not something I would do every day, but if I had an emergency, yes,” said motorist Yvette Brenham, who was filling up with gas at Fuel City in Dallas.

TxDOT officials briefed a Dallas City Council committee Monday since the managed lanes will run through the city. Council members learned it’s a $9 million project funded by the state that will string managed lanes end-to-end on LBJ.

“We’re looking at it providing a seamless mode of travel for motorists,” said TxDOT spokesman Tony Hartzell.

TxDOT said the changes will double the amount of cars that currently use HOV lanes without slowing down the speed of travel.

The agency said this is a popular idea, but paying even more to drive in toll-weary North Texas doesn’t go over well with everyone.

“Just leave a little earlier and get to where you need to go,” advised motorist Pam Offord.

Is TxDOT pricing some motorists out of options that used to be free?

“There’s always that other option of using those regular lanes, but HOVs in this case are still going to be free," Hartzell said. "It’s not pricing people out; it’s just allowing so more users to use these lanes."

Around the same time, in early 2016, TxDOT will also introduce HOV lanes on North Central Expressway to drivers of single occupancy vehicles who are willing to pay for the privilege.

TxDOT says it will spend a year installing gantries and some other modifications to monitor traffic and work with existing Toll Tags. The HOV lanes will remain free to carpoolers.