After receiving feedback about the Highway 101 Managed Lanes project over the summer, C/CAG is conducting additional research into how it might address the persisting equity concern some have with respect to charging a toll to drive on a public highway.
The Managed Lanes project seeks to build a new lane in each direction on the stretch of Highway 101 in San Mateo County between Interstate 380 and Whipple Road.
The far left lane in each direction will be converted to an express lane and signs with real-time surveillance equipment will be installed. Those lanes are intended to improve traffic by allowing buses, carpools of three people or more and motorcycles to travel free while charging an electronic toll for other drivers who choose to use them.
That toll is estimated to be $1 per mile on average and as much as $3 per mile, though prices fluctuate based on traffic volumes and toll policies are not yet decided. The entire project will cost taxpayers about $514 million.
The City/County Association of Governments approved some funding to move the Managed Lanes Project forward by a vote of 13-4 at a meeting in July, with boardmembers Ricardo Ortiz, Raymond Buenaventura, David Canepa and Karyl Matsumoto in opposition.
A C/CAG Managed Lanes workshop scheduled for September has been pushed back to mid-November so staff can study how other existing express lanes in California are accessible to people of all income levels.
C/CAG Executive Director Sandy Wong said the L.A. Metro Express Lane Authority conducted a toll equity study, and the two agencies are scheduled to meet in October so that C/CAG can learn about the findings.
In San Mateo County, Wong said she’s been asked about ways in which an express lane discount could be provided for low-income drivers.
“It was a question we got and we’re investigating it,” she said. “Many studies are being done elsewhere so we wanted to gather as much information as possible.”
Wong said there is no existing equity program relating to express lanes in the Bay Area.