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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 02/15/2011

HOT lanes myth and reality (part two)

By David Alpert

The facile claims of many leaders and a number of news reports have fed misconceptions about the Virginia HOT lanes project. The biggest danger of all with this project is that it's very likely to slow down, not speed up, existing carpoolers and buses.

Myth 3: The HOT lanes will speed up travel in the 95/395 corridor.

Right now, traffic generally moves swiftly in the HOV lanes, giving sluggers and bus riders a quick ride to the Pentagon, downtown, and other major job centers.

Once Transurban takes over control of the lanes, they will understandably want to maximize their profit. The more people pay a toll, the more money they make. The more cars enter the lanes, of course, the slower traffic will move. However, as long as the lanes are moving even moderately faster than the often very crowded free lanes, enough people will pay tolls.

Therefore, Transurban's natural profit motive will be to fill up the lanes as much as possible, but only until traffic slows down to the point where people stop paying for the extra benefit. If that means that the carpools and buses are driving 10 miles per hour slower than they do today, well, those carpools and buses aren't their customers. They're not paying tolls. So who cares?

[Continue reading David Alpert's post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The
Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By David Alpert  | February 15, 2011; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Arlington, Fairfax County, HotTopic, Local blog network, Virginia, traffic, transportation  
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