TOLLING: New express lanes open on I-10 near Los Angeles

New lanes will be free for vehicles with multiple occupants; single riders pay for use

February 25, 2013

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) officially opened a new set of express lanes on I-10 on Friday with a dedication ceremony in El Monte. The high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes run 14 miles from I-605 in El Monte to Alameda Street in downtown L.A. 

The Metro ExpressLanes will be free for vehicles carrying at least two passengers. Solo drivers will be able to use them by paying a toll via a registered Metro FasTrak account and transponder. Toll rates will change based on traffic volume. Metro officials speculate that pricing could range from $0.25 a mile in light traffic to $1.40 per mile during rush hours. At these rates, an average one-way trip could cost anywhere from $4 to $7.

The idea behind traffic-based toll rates is to maintain speeds at least 45 mph in the HOT lanes. If speeds fall below that point, single-rider vehicles will be prohibited from using the lanes until speed picks up.

The I-10 HOT lanes are the second set of express lanes to open in Los Angeles County, after the Harbor Freeway lanes that opened in November. Combined, the two sets of HOT lanes will cost $7 million to $10 million a year to operate; they are expected to bring in $18 million to $20 million in revenue annually.