The Commute

An informative and entertaining discussion on our ferries and highways with Kitsap Sun reporters.
Subscribe to RSS

Hot Lanes a Fair Way to Pay for Roads

August 19th, 2008 by ed friedrich

A new study by UCLA and USC claims that hot lanes like those on Highway 167 are fairer to low-income people. Hot lanes are those that you can pay to use to bypass the slower “free” lanes.

That seems like a no-brainer. Maybe I’m not getting it, but the people who can afford to use the fast lanes are probably middle- or upper-income. So they’re paying more than their share for the road that poor people can’t afford to drive on.

If the road is paid for with gas taxes or sales taxes, people of all incomes pay about the same for them, but it would be a bigger percentage of  the poor people’s incomes.

The good news is that poor people don’t have to pay so much. The bad news is they’re stuck in the slow lanes. It’s another example of getting what you pay for, which in this case seems like a good thing.

Although the only hot lanes in Washington now are on Highway 167, there will be many more to follow.

Popular wisdom is that toll lanes are unfair to the poor. But the study compared paying for a highway with those tolls versus a statewide gas or sales tax and found the opposite. It makes sense, because those who use the toll lanes are probably middle- or upper-income people, so they’ll contribute more to paying for the road

4 Responses to “Hot Lanes a Fair Way to Pay for Roads”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Toll lanes or toll roads…we need to do something to increase revenue to help pay for our roads.

    Seems to me that toll roads would help considerably, and consideration can be given to those needing it…less cost.

  2. Mike Says:

    No, we do NOT need to do something to increase revenue to help pay for our roads. There are plenty of revenues available to government. The problem is that bureaucrats and Democrats allocate transportation funds to mega-mass-transit projects and TEARING up roads for fish passages. Meanwhile, public works continues to have the same number of employees. Why aren’t they building roads?

    Kitsap did not build one mile of new roads in 10 years.

    All Politics.

  3. Greg Says:

    Work for fish passage as mitigation for highway projects is required by federal, state and local laws, Mike. If you don’t do it, you will be sued and the projects won’t happen. It’s not a republican or democrat thing. If you don’t like it, work to overturn the laws.

  4. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “…There are plenty of revenues available to government. …”

    What are the revenues Mike?
    Don’t you think revenue for mass transit is money well spent?

    Kitsap has built new roads in Poulsbo and is working on one now in Silverdale.
    I won’t mention the Silverdale Mess… but it is new too.

    I’ll agree that politics seem to make the difference in what gets done and what doesn’t and where the money comes from.
    That is why we want people in politics who look after the interests of the people who elected them AND future generations.
    Sharon O’Hara