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September 13, 2012

Rules are changing for HOV lanes in Dallas-Fort Worth

HovlaneAs North Texas officials prepare for the opening of managed toll lanes on freeways beginning next year, the Regional Transportation Council is trying to figure out how to operate the high-occupancy vehicle lanes that have operated in the area for two decades.

I'm at a RTC meeting now in Arlington, and members are talking about whether to continue to allow motorists to use HOV lanes with only two people in the car, or whether to expand the minimum to three people per car.

Excerpts from the discussion:

"Folks are beginning to understand 'managed lane' is a euphamism for a toll lane." Mesquite TX Mayor John Monaco.

"I don't think people will have a problem understanding if you're in an HOV lane and it's about to become a toll lane you need get out of it." Fort Worth Councilman Danny Scarth.

"It needs to be simple. If it's going to heavily depend upon enforcement, it's going to be trouble." Scarth.

"It's a managed corridor we're talking about. It's not just managed lanes." Maribel Chavez, Texas Department of Transportation Fort Worth district director.

"If they can afford a two seat car they can aford to pay the toll." Glen Whitley, Tarrant County Judge, during a discussion about whether two-seat vehicles such as the Mini Cooper Roadster should be allowed to use HOV lanes for free, or managed lanes at a discount.

"They really don't like when something free becomes a toll road. They punish the poeple in office. Grandfathering may be a solution to that. It's something we need to consider." Clay Jenkins, Dallas County judge. "My idea would be pick a time period - 60 days, 90 days, 120 days - and we see who uses this thing." 

@gdickson

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As North Texas officials prepare for the opening of managed toll lanes on freeways beginning next year, the Regional Transportation Council is trying to figure out how to operate the high-occupancy vehicle lanes that have operated in the area for two decades.

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