Are HOT Lanes The Solution?

New Traffic Flow

Traffic is one of those things that local DC people talk about when they need something to bitch about. It’s always on the agenda for the morning coffee run here, how bad South Capitol Street was, how bad 395 or the Suitland Parkway was, how godawful 66 was inside the Beltway. It’s become something of a joke how lengthy my commute can be in its worst situation. I live roughly six miles from downtown DC in Heathen Arlington, and the march up 395 can take up to an hour on really bad days.

One of the ideas that’s floating around is the High-Occupancy Toll Lanes that seems to be the cause du jour of the local DOT groups. The idea is that people will pay not to have to deal with traffic. Ideally, though, it seems that people may have to pay through the nose for it, according to a new WaPo article in today’s paper. A trip from Fredericksburg along the new HOT lanes could run you $30 for a “traffic free” experience. While tolls are scalable dependent upon how full the lanes are, can you really guarantee a dearth of traffic?

I’m not sure you can, especially in this town. Besides, how does this solve traffic for everyone? Just because some have the means to pay $30/direction for traffic, doesn’t mean the traffic will suddenly lighten on the inside. We need solutions that work for everyone, not just the cash rich.

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