Turns Out Drivers Who Aren’t Rich Pony Up to Use Traffic-Free Toll Lanes, Too

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As Orange County officials consider toll lanes for an expansion project on the 405 (Metro officials are considering them for the 405 over the Sepulveda Pass, too) the newspaper of record in the Orange Curtain wants to set the record straight.

The OC Register pointed out in a Wednesday editorial that the derisive term “Lexus lanes,” which refers to carpool lanes that allow access to solo drivers for a fee, is not accurate. “Just 42 percent of [Metro ExpressLanes] account holders surveyed in 2014 reported annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher,” the newspaper reported.

The ExpressLanes currently operate on the 10 and 110 in L.A. County and it’s not the Lexus, or the Mercedes or BMW, that symbolize the toll lanes. Metro reported the most common car “was Toyota, followed by Honda, Ford and Chevrolet”… Lexus was eighth.

The Register remains cautious about endorsing the toll lanes, saying questions remain about pricing, how many occupants constitute a carpool, and the business effects of limiting exits for users.

Orange County is planning to widen the 405 between the 605 and the 73, adding two lanes in each direction from Costa Mesa to Long Beach; one lane in each direction being a toll lane that solo drivers can pay to access. The cost of the project: $1.7 billion.