MTA to Los Angeles:  You need more traffic 

According to the Los Angeles Times, there’s apparently a movement afoot to install toll mechanisms on the previously free and glorious carpool lanes that extend across L.A. county’s myriad highways.  The thinking is that drivers should pay for the luxurious privilege of a reduced traffic lane, especially at peak times when the fares will increase.  Those not willing to pony up (a high number of drivers, I imagine) will have to remain with the general population, which of course means increased congestion for the vast majority of commuters.  The MTA reasons that with miserly and impecunious drivers effectively phased back into the hoi polloi, those that are willing to part with a bit of cash will have an even easier drive, what with the carpool lanes even more desolate and 1989-Dodge-Caravan-free.  This just leads to one question:  has the MTV even played SimCity???  You can’t hate on the citizens like that!

Of course, business is business, and every company or government bureau has a right to seek profits wherever possible, blah blah blah.  This idea, however, is absolutely idiotic.  While yes, it will benefit a small population of those who are willing to pay money (like non-everyday commuters), the overall effect is that it’s just going to clog the regular lanes even further.  The whole point of the HOV lane is to ease congestion/save the environment/be wonderful, and this new plan espouses none of those ideals.  It is merely a reward system for those willing to donate to the MTA and Caltrans, existing solely to raise revenues, not to help Los Angeles’s debilitating traffic problems.  The MTA needs funding, sure, but not at the expense of the congestion it’s supposed to be easing.  Gosh, I’m already on strike with the WGA, and AFTRA looks like it might be acting up soon.  The last thing I need is a THIRD cause to be activist-y about.  This is totally against my world outlook!

Carpoolers’ free ride may be over [Los Angeles Times via Franklin Avenue]