Discussion Of Toll Lanes On I-405 To Continue

Discussion Of Toll Lanes On I-405 To Continue

Tolling is under consideration to manage congestion and comply with federal guidelines regarding carpool lanes that are failing to operate efficiently

ORANGE – The Orange County Transportation Authority board today voted to continue exploring the addition of toll lanes on the San Diego Freeway (I-405) as a way to improve traffic between Costa Mesa and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) at the L.A. County line.

Any project built will include at least one free lane in each direction as part of the I-405 Improvement Project that is funded through Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation.

OCTA is looking at tolling options in carpool lanes in part because last year’s federal transportation bill, known as MAP-21, requires that carpool lanes operate at 45 mph or more 90 percent of the time. Carpool lanes on the I-405 – as well as freeways throughout Orange County and statewide – are failing to meet this standard.

“As the state considers policy changes that could impact the carpool network in Orange County, we need to ensure we are part of that discussion,” said OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom. “We will continue our commitment to voters under Measure M to build a new general-purpose lane in each direction on the 405 freeway and explore additional opportunities to improve traffic in that area.”

During the next two months, OCTA will examine possible tolling policies and how excess toll revenue could be used to fund additional improvements to public transportation in the area.

I-405 project cost estimates range from $1.25 billion to $1.47 billion, depending on the option selected. It is estimated that adding high-occupancy toll lanes could generate $1.5 billion (after operations and maintenance costs) during the next 30 years, which could fund additional improvements.

Caltrans, in partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority is in the environmental phase of improving the I-405 between the Costa Mesa area and the Orange County/Los Angeles County line.

The I-405 is the busiest stretch of freeway in the country, carrying more than 370,000 cars a day. Traffic volumes are expected to increase approximately 35 percent by 2040 and Caltrans and OCTA are proposing to widen the freeway to improve travel conditions for commuters.

For more information, visit www.octa.net/405improvement.

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