Los Angeles to end free express lane perk for electric vehicles

Los Angeles to end free express lane perk for electric vehicles

Southern California, namely the Los Angeles area, is known for its intense traffic congestion due to overpopulation and lack of alternative transportation options.  To combat this problem, there are two different types of specialized lanes that are aimed at targeting the issue.  On some highways, there are carpool lanes which can be used by vehicles with at least 2 people on board, and there are Express Lanes which are toll roads used by people who would rather pay than be stuck in traffic.  Currently, green energy cars and motorcycles are allowed to use both of these lanes, and they are not required to the pay the toll when using the Express Lanes if their car qualifies for either a green or white clean air vehicle sticker.

 

 

Unfortunately, that benefit was quite tempting for anyone attempting to avoid traffic, so tempting in fact, that there has been a 1000 percent increase in the number of stickers issued by the California DMV since 2013.  And in just over two years, the peak morning traffic in the LA area has nearly doubled.  The Express Lanes are becoming so congested and backed up, that they no longer adhere to the state mandated minimum of 45 mph.  Something major needs to change according to the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transportation Authority, so come the end of this year, most likely November or December, simply possessing a clean vehicle sticker will no longer get you free access into the Express Lane.  Instead, anyone with a car that boasts the clean air sticker can receive a much more modest 15% discount for Express Lane access.


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Of course, going from paying nothing to paying $12.75 for this benefit could be a slap in the face for drivers of green vehicles, but sometimes, the ability to avoid traffic at peak hours is priceless.  And this can be an especially difficult change to stomach for those who purchased electric vehicles and clean air cars for their commute in order to reap the benefit of greatly reduced traffic driving in the Express Lane for free.  In response, metro board member and city councilman, Paul Kekorian, went on record to say, “If the question is social equity, I cannot rationalize subsidizing someone who puts their tie on and hops in their Tesla to drive to work, and not subsidizing a guy who throws his tools in the back of his Toyota pickup truck to go to work.”

The traffic issues have become such a problem in the Los Angeles area that there has been talk of completely redefining the definition of carpool, specifically in reference to the Caltrans’ serviced carpool lanes.  Instead of allowing any vehicle with two or more passengers, it’s possible they may only allow registered buses and vanpools in these specialty lanes.  Of course, at this point, it’s still only speculation, so the only confirmed change is that access to the Express Lanes will remain off-limits for solo drivers of green cars unless the privilege is purchased at a meagerly discounted rate.  Anyone driving a car sporting a clean air vehicle sticker will still be allowed to use designated Caltrans’ carpool lanes free of charge until further notice.

Amanda Williams

Written by Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a mother, an author, and entrepreneur.. Her pastimes include the San Diego Padres, anything and everything Disney related, reading for pleasure, running for fun, family trips to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and Disneyland, and of course, spending quality time with her two beautiful daughters. She is uniquely qualified to write on all things auto transport, because she has worked in the industry as an agent and also utilized auto transport services on multiple occasions, allowing her to learn the industry from both sides of the equation. She also has a comprehensive knowledge of vehicles due to a budding passion and thirst for knowledge regarding all things automotive.   She was born and raised in the small town of Santa Cruz, California, but moved to San Diego at age 17 to pursue a degree in psychology at San Diego State University. She graduated in just 3 short years with a Bachelor's in Psychology with a Minor in Religious Studies, but chose instead to pursue a career in finance, working at multiple financial institutions before discovering her true passion for writing. Experimenting in different business industries not only widened her horizons and helped her figure out her true life's calling, it also afforded her the chance to cross paths with her future husband/soul mate and eventual father of her children. Working as a contributing author has allowed her the flexibility to stay home and raise her tiny humans while giving her the creative outlet she needs to flex her mental muscles.
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