In re HOV lanes

The Houston Chronicle reports that toll prices in HOV/HOT lanes will be increasing, sometimes almost fourfold, in response to growing congestion in the system. The lanes, which are still primarily for cars with multiple occupants, have been opened to solo drivers for nearly two years, provided they pay a toll. However, with countless solo drivers now taking to the lanes, METRO decided to raise prices substantially in order to discourage the solo drivers during peak hours.

For example, US59/I-69 northbound will see its early morning tolls increase from $2.25 to $4.50, while the same highway southbound will see an even larger markup from $2.00 to $6.50. I-45 and US290 will raise their prices 350%, from $2.00 to $7.00. I simply cannot fathom paying that much money in tolls every day on the commute to work.

However, and I cannot stress this enough, HOV lanes are a privilege and not an entitlement to solo drivers. Their primary purpose is for carpools, not for rich people. In fact, there is an argument to be made that solo drivers should never be allowed in the HOV lane, though I think METRO would disagree since they have made a handsome profit off of the entire ordeal.

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