Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fully utilize the resource

This proposal probably isn’t going anywhere, but it should. From an environmental efficiency standpoint we ought to be making use of an underutilized resource. The real question should be how to do it. I’d suggest that the Department of Transportation determine each year how many additional vehicles should be allowed in the HOV lane without slowing it down significantly. Then auction off the permits to drive in the lane on ebay.

We’d fully utilize the resource and increase revenues at the same time.

A state lawmaker wants to turn the carpool lanes on Interstate 17 through Phoenix, and potentially other Arizona highways, into high-occupancy toll lanes that would allow drivers to pay to slash time from their morning and evening commutes.

The lanes would remain free to carpools, and the tolls would be collected electronically.

The proposal could change the philosophy of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes from exclusively encouraging carpooling to providing a faster way for solo drivers to get where they're going.

The concept is called HOT lanes, for high-occupancy toll, an idea that has gained ground in congested areas in California and is being promoted by the federal government.

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