By Kerry Dougherty The Virginian-Pilot June 8, 2012 They’re messing with us. Again. Traffic “experts,” thatis. Unwilling to admit that for the most part interstate HOV lanes werean epic failure, they now want to double down by turning theseunused lanes into Cadillac corridors.
It’s happening around the country. Solo drivers are being invitedto use the thruways, provided they pay a steep toll. Five or sixbucks a day, according to reports. In a flash, high-occupancyvehicle lanes become high-occupancy toll lanes. Think about it this a minute: Tumbleweeds are blowing around theHOV lanes during rush hour while the rest of the interstate iscongested.
Common sense should dictate that an extra lane ofroadway would improve the flow. Not so fast. Transportation honchos don’t want the lunch pail crowdclogging up those lanes. They want to turn these corridors intoprivate lanes for the landed gentry. I’ve written about HOV lunacy before because a variation of thisidea seems to surface with regularity. Herbal Sex Pills
Inevitably, it involves somescheme to squeeze a few more shekels out of commuters by makingthem pay to drive on roads that are already built and areunderused. According to my abacus, even a $4 a day fee would mean anadditional $1,000 a year out of the paycheck of the average worker.It’s doubtful that those with stagnant wages could afford that newvoluntary tax. That means those who are simply trying to get towork on time will be stuck on artificially congested roads -wasting time and fuel – as local fat cats zip by in their Beamers. Seems a plan this bad could only have originated in California. Andit did. China Herbs Male Enhancement
The AP reports that HOT lanes were born in SouthernCalifornia and are spreading across the nation. We learned about local proposals for tolling the HOV lanes on I-64in a story by Pilot reporter Debbie Messina on Tuesday. DwightFarmer, executive director of the Hampton Roads TransportationPlanning Organization, said his organization first toyed with theidea a decade ago. “We know we have unused capacity in that corridor,”Farmer said. “So this would be a very logical step.” Really? Wouldn’t it be even more logical to simply abolish thelanes? In case anyone has forgotten, the purpose of interstate highways isto move people. China Stiff Nights Male Enhancement
Quickly. Building HOV lanes to nudge drivers intocarpooling once seemed like a swell idea – to a few out-of-touchtraffic experts. But the lanes didn’t work. From coast to coast, many HOV lanes proved a disaster. In 1998, NewJersey became the first state to scrap some of its high-occupancyaisles.
In a commentary on then-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s executiveorder, The New York Times sighed that the underused lanes were”consigned to the dustbin of noble governmentalfailures.” Noble? How poetic. Frankly, this is what happens any time dreamysocial engineers are put in charge of public policy. Fact is, most Americans commute alone. They have their reasons.Some need their cars during the day.
Others have schoolchildrenwith a habit of getting sick at inconvenient times. Still otherswork odd hours or stay late. And some folks simply enjoy the solitude that comes with drivingalone. They don’t want to interact with passengers or engage inmindless chitchat.
Speaking of chitchat, Virginia Transportation Secretary SeanConnaughton lapsed into bureaucrat-ese when trying to explain thecommonwealth’s flirtation with HOT lanes. “We need to try to get more through-put with the existingcapacity,” he said. Memo to the secretary: The taxpayers built those lanes. They’d behappy to give you lots of through-put.
Just don’t shake them down to do it. Pilot news researcher Jakon Hays contributed to this column. Kerry Dougherty, 757-446-2306,firstname.lastname@example.org.