Private Toll Roads: Acceptability of Congestion Pricing in Southern California
Private toll roads in Southern California demonstrate attempts to price highways realistically and to use high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes efficiently. Such routes are located in areas in which population and employment grew impressively during the 1970s and 1980s, peak-hour congestion is severe, air pollution exceeds health standards for ozone 180 days per year, and earlier attempts at congestion relief have had limited success. The objective in describing one of these toll roads is to suggest how obstacles to congestion pricing might be overcome by combining congestion pricing with expansion of HOV lanes and successful ride-sharing programs. The heavy hand of politics rests on all congestion pricing projects, and this case study is no different. It does illustrate, however, that congestion pricing can be made politically acceptable. If the private toll lanes are successful, a new opportunity for congestion relief will be available using regional HOV facilities.