Monday, June 8, 2009

Ridley-Thomas Supports Pilot Project Allowing Toll-Paying Solo Drivers to Use Carpool Lanes



       Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

                 L.A. County Board of Supervisors, 2nd District





June 8, 2009                                                    Contact:       Aurelio Rojas   213-974-2222

                                                                                          James Bolden 213-200-5314               







Tolls will generate revenue for commuter services and create 7,000 jobs



LOS ANGELES - Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said today that a proposed one-year pilot project that would allow solo drivers to pay a toll to use carpool lanes on portions of the Harbor (I-110) and San Bernardino (I-10) Freeways will generate revenue to improve public transportation and create more than 7,000 construction-related jobs.


One of the last pieces of legislation Supervisor Ridley-Thomas championed before leaving the Legislature last year was Senate Bill 1422, which enabled the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Project.


Funding for the project, which was rolled out today the California Department of Transportation and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is being provided by a special $210 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.


“I support this project because of the congestion relief, air quality and economic development opportunities the $210 million federal investment will bring to the region in the next two years,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Metro board.


Most of the funding will be used to enhance public transit options along the two corridors by providing an additional 57 clean-fuel buses, increase vanpool and carpool participants, add secure park and ride facilities and create a state of the art tolling system.


Under a formula used by local transportation officials, 35 construction-related jobs are created for every $1 million spent.



“Helping people move more efficiently takes a combination of tools,” the Supervisor said. “First, we will offer more transit, so people can choose between their own cars and other modes of travel.  But another critical element is better management of the lanes we have now.”


The pilot project would involve 11 miles of the Harbor Freeway from Adams Boulevard to the Artesia Transit Center at 182nd Street and 14 miles of the San Bernardo Freeway from Alameda Street to the 605 Freeway interchange.


Carpoolers, vanpoolers and public transit users would not be charged to use carpools lanes. But solo drivers – who currently are not allowed to use the lanes – would have to pay tolls ranging from .25 cents a mile during low-demand periods of the day to $1.40 a mile during peak periods.


“No one has to pay,” the Supervisor said. “It’s a choice.”


The Supervisor said he is committed to protecting low-income commuters when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority considers transit credits and toll credits next month.


The project will be the focus of five public hearings this month. The Second District hearing will be held June 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Adult Activity Room at the Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.


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