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VTA Considers Pay Lane On South Bay Highway

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Traffic jam on a California highway (AP)

Traffic jam on a California highway (AP)

SAN JOSE (KCBS/BCN) – The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority scheduled a meeting for Monday afternoon in San Jose to gather input from the public about toll lanes on the  Highway 237 to Highway 880  exchange near Milpitas.

The VTA, along with Caltrans, has proposed conversion of the existing carpool lanes on the interchange in Milpitas and San Jose to express lanes that would also be open to solo drivers who pay a toll for the privilege of driving in the lane.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“The idea here is to take advantage of the underutilized carpool lanes and to move more traffic during the commute period,” explained Murali Ramanujam, a VTA senior transportation engineer. “By providing some relief at this location, commuters would have an option to save anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes of their travel time to get to where they want to.”

Contrary to popular belief, Ramanujam said the express lanes – dubbed “Lexus Lanes” because a charge is involved for the privilege of driving in the lanes – are not just for more affluent commuters.

“They actually did account on what is the most common car that was using the express lane,” he said. “They found Ford to be the brand that proved to be most popular.”

Additionally, he stressed that the funds generated by an express lane would be redirected into the area.

“Those revenues would be used within that corridor and it would stay within Santa Clara County,” he explained.

During the meeting, transit officials planned to show exhibits and plans relating to the proposal. They would also make themselves available to answer any questions the public might have regarding the concept.

The meeting was to take place from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in Room B104 of VTA’s Building B, located at 3331 North 1st St.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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