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Bob View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Jun 2003 at 8:26am
There is an article in the Post today about HOT lanes. The tone of this article as well as a number of radio and TV spots in the last couple of days has just been to rave about the potential of HOT lanes to reduce traffic.

I will make a couple of comments. First, no one ever mentions the negative impact on air pollution of HOT lanes. Second, think about how it would work. It would only work on isolated lanes where they could control things at the entry point. Does that mean they would create isolated lanes on 270 (which is one of the corredors they are talking about?) More likely, they are thinking about messing up I-95.

Bob [:(!]
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jerryclapham View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jerryclapham Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2003 at 1:17pm
I have thought about them on 95. It will not work. The HOV lanes at this time a running effectively and effiecntly. Now lets double or triple the number of cars in the HOV lanes that are carrying less people because there would be altneratives to pick up slugs or car pool. In addition there will be bottleneckl on the HOV because of increased volume. (e.g. exit ramp to the Pentagon). This will defeat the whole purpose of the HOV lanes on 95. Once again some politican has gotten a bug up their butt about the HOV lane. Now they want to spend tax dollars to do a study on HOT lanes. VADOT did a study (cost$1.4 million) several years ago on the effects of lowering the HOV from 3 to 2 on 95. They were surprised when carpoolers and slugs came out in droves to tell them what a diaster it would be. VADOT will get the same conculting firms and hire people who never travel the 95 on a regular basis in rush hour. I think that everyone should start writing their elected officals and tell them to stop this maddness.

Jerry

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jun 2003 at 12:28pm
We (as slugs) must voice our concern with this HOT concept. If anyone has information on who to contact please post it on the web or email me directly!


Here is the article. You can find it at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14863-2003Jun4.html


Toll Lanes' Concept Catching On
Planners, Officials Discuss Prices at Regional Meeting

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 5, 2003; Page B01


Traffic planners and public officials said yesterday that they sense increasing political support for giving motorists the option of buying their way out of congestion by paying tolls to use free-flowing carpool lanes.

With money for new roads, buses and trains scarce and traffic growing steadily worse, the officials said, they have few other ways to raise money to ease the Washington region's legendary backups. The toll income could be used to fund new transit and road projects, while making more efficient use of existing road space, supporters said.

Yesterday, more than 200 state and local transportation planners, politicians, academics and engineers gathered for the region's first major conference to discuss ways of pricing lanes. Just a few years ago, organizers said, such a discussion would have drawn fewer than 10 people.

"I think people are recognizing that the [traffic] problem continues to get worse, and there's a willingness to try new things," said Ronald Kirby, transportation director for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, which co-sponsored the conference with the Federal Highway Administration. "People are becoming more and more aware that there's a serious revenue problem . . . We have no other solutions on the horizon."

Pierce Homer, Virginia's deputy secretary of transportation, called the palpable level of enthusiasm in the Grand Hyatt meeting room "very significant."

"This is a serious question being asked in a lot of regions around the country: Are there market-based solutions to congestion?" Homer said.

In high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, lone motorists may pay a toll to use the faster-moving carpool lanes. The tolls are deducted from prepaid accounts via electronic transponders on vehicles, similar to the "Smart Tag" transponders that allow motorists to breeze through toll booths.

Toll prices change throughout the day, with the highest prices during the morning and afternoon rush. The lanes remain free for carpoolers. The toll is always high enough to ensure that the lanes don't bog down. HOT lanes don't necessarily reduce traffic congestion, supporters say, but they help transportation departments manage it better by filling unused space in carpool lanes and giving motorists an incentive to drive outside the peak periods.

Before this year, the effort to create HOT lanes in the Washington region appeared to have stalled. The only local study came to an abrupt, controversial end in 2001 . Parris N. Glendening (D), who was then the governor of Maryland, canceled a HOT lane study for Route 50 through Prince George's County, saying such lanes would be unfair to lower-income drivers.

Maryland recently revived its study of HOT lanes, this time on Interstate 270 through Montgomery County. Virginia has asked for federal money to analyze HOT lanes on Northern Virginia highways.

A private company also has proposed using toll lanes to finance widening the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia.

Adding to the momentum, supporters say, is the Bush administration's recent proposal to permit states to impose tolls on federal roads and interstate highways. The administration doesn't actively endorse the idea of HOT lanes but thinks they are "worth discussing" to better manage congestion and reduce air pollution, said Emil Frankel, assistant U.S. secretary for transportation policy.

"I think everyone acknowledges we have financial issues, and we need to think about all our options," Frankel said.

Many transportation planners have supported the idea of "value pricing" on highways for years, but hot lanes have been a tough political sell. Critics have dubbed them "Lexus Lanes," arguing that they favor the wealthy and are a double tax on roads that motorists already pay for through the gas tax.

Mid-Atlantic AAA spokesman Lon Anderson, the most vocal HOT lane critic, said he would support them only on new or wider highways and only if the toll revenue went primarily to expand road capacity.

"Shouldn't the goal be to move everyone at a more reasonable speed during rush hour than just those people who can pay?" Anderson said.

Conference organizers said they hoped the meeting would begin the public education that had helped overcome political opposition in some cities where HOT lanes now are in use.

Officials involved in HOT lane projects in Houston and in San Diego and Orange County in California told the conference that surveys showed similar income levels among drivers in the toll lanes and the regular lanes. Most drivers used them only when they were in a hurry, officials said.

Maryland Del. Carol S. Petzold (D-Montgomery) said HOT lanes could work on I-270 and on the intercounty connector proposed for Montgomery and Prince George's counties. The toll revenue could fund construction of the connector road, a transit link between Bethesda and New Carrollton and a rail line across the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

"The political reluctance is that you're charging money, which people think of as a tax," Petzold said.

"We need to change that attitude from HOT lanes being a tax increase to being a traffic management tool."



2003 The Washington Post Company
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MDC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jun 2003 at 5:00am
I just don't understand how they'll effectively enforce it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2003 at 6:30am
Does anyone have detailed information on the HOT lanes? Exactly what they are proposing, how it will operate, etc. I'm trying to locate the details of what they are proposing but have been unsuccessful (other than the newspaper articles).

If you have anything, I'd appreciate it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wdossel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2003 at 9:26am
Well, at the risk of getting flamed, there already is a form of HOT at work -- the use of hybrids in the HOV lane. In effect, people are paying $18K+ for using the HOV w/o more than one occupant...

HOT's are a poor method to raise revenue ostensibly for local projects -- frankly, does anyone on this board *really* expect that No. Va tolls will be plowed back into No. Va projects? As a former resident of Hampton Roads, I can assure you that there isn't a toll that once in place, the good folks in Richmond won't move heaven and earth to try and keep in place (the Beach "expressway" being one stellar example) and route the monies elsewhere in the state.

This is a real threat to the continued use of the HOVs as originally intended, and we as a group need to get the ear of our legislators -- *now* before the pro-toll advocates get a foothold or we're going to end up behind the [8]. I think it would be particularly useful if we obtained a summary of local and state officials' position re. HOT for use in future elections...

- Will
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jun 2003 at 12:40pm
First of all I agree with you completely. Second, I'm hoping to add another section to the website for "Slugging Activists" (for lack of a better term). I'd like to list all the officials involved in not only HOT but other issues that impact slugging.

I think getting involved will be the focus of my next newsletter!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Admin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jun 2003 at 7:04am
To prevent confusion of having two different threads discussing the same topic, the thread "HOV to HOT" has been locked from future postings. Please post all future comments here. Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Erin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2003 at 3:29pm
I'm in complete agreement! The idea of HOT lanes terrifies me... I love my commute the way it is. I live in Dumfries and it takes me about 50 minutes total to get door-to-door (I work at 14th&I). Why mess with a good thing? Some letters are definitely in order!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote elama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2003 at 12:31pm
Thank you and../ you go guy!!!

quote:
Originally posted by Admin
[br]First of all I agree with you completely. Second, I'm hoping to add another section to the website for "Slugging Activists" (for lack of a better term). I'd like to list all the officials involved in not only HOT but other issues that impact slugging.

I think getting involved will be the focus of my next newsletter!

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