2007 March 28 Wednesday
Lexus Lanes Coming To Freeways

High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes or Lexus Lanes are all the range among free marketeers.

Economics geeks love HOT lanes because they're a beautiful example of supply and demand in its essence. Read the professors on this, and HOT lanes start to sound like econ porn.

Even some environmentalists like HOT lanes on the theory that high tolls will discourage driving and that revenue from tolls can be steered toward transit projects.

So if all these smart people love Lexus lanes, what's the problem?

Drivers tend to hate the idea for three reasons: 1) Lexus lanes seem unfair to low- and middle-income commuters who can't afford to shell out the big bucks. In Virginia, where prices could vary according to traffic volume, planners say it could cost up to $42 per day roundtrip between Prince William County and the Pentagon on the HOT lanes scheduled to be built along Interstate 95.

Wow, $42 per day. Why should drivers hate that the people going in the fast lane are paying more per trip in tolls than the slower drivers pay for transportation total? Seems to me this is a "sock it to the rich" tax where the rich volunteer to pay through the nose.

The cost per trip is so high that the HOT lanes must generate more revenue than they cost to build. Also, the traffic on them reduces the burden on the rest of the lanes.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 March 28 09:36 PM  Economics Transportation


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