Out of Control Policy Blog

Washington Post endorses HOT lanes

The Washington Post endorsed HOT lanes in Thursday's edition in an editorial:

Every projection suggests that the region's population growth will yield additional congestion that is likely to outstrip the road network's capacity to absorb it. The most that can be expected from planners -- and it is already a lot -- is that they embrace forward-thinking strategies to mitigate growth's impact.

By that measure, a proposal to build high-occupancy toll lanes along Interstates 95 and 395 in Virginia, along with a similar plan already in the works for a segment of the Capital Beltway in Virginia, makes sense. So-called HOT lanes, in use for more than a decade in California and elsewhere, use congestion pricing to prevent backups; electronic tolls on designated lanes would rise and fall according to demand, thereby ensuring that traffic keeps moving. Carpoolers, emergency vehicles, drivers badly pressed for time and, yes, the cost-is-no-object crowd would cruise. Everybody else would continue suffering what they suffer now -- stop-and-go rush hours.

The Post also notes that HOT lanes are not a panacea, but who claimed they were except opponents using rhetorical slight of hand to take them off the table?

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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