Bay Area drivers invited to weigh in on all-lane freeway tolling system

Monday, November 6, 2023
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Transit officials are asking Bay Area residents to weigh in on the practicality of an all-lane freeway tolling system.

Driving on the freeway could cost you more than it already does.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission started a two-year study in 2022. It includes three proposals for charging drivers - one of which would add tolls to all lanes of many Bay Area freeways.

RELATED: How the proposed all-lane freeway tolling system would work in Bay Area

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the MTC will ask for public input on pricing freeway travel.

San Jose driver Gayl Henson doesn't like the idea.

"No, because we're already paying so much to live here right, no," Henson said.

MTC spokesperson John Goodwin said this is a planning exercise, not a policy proposal. They say since the state has serious low-emission targets, Californians should be serious about driving less.

MORE: Transportation officials consider plan for commuters to pay tolls on busy Bay Area freeways

Khanh Nguyen purchased an electric vehicle specifically for his commute from San Jose to Foster City.

"Every day, I spend like two hours and 20 minutes to go to work. You know, come to work and go back home," Nguyen said.

He said if the freeway tolls plan does come to fruition, hopefully drivers with EVs can get a discount.

"Hopefully they will be more lean on the freeway, it would be great for us. The less travel and the less better," Nguyen said.

MTC says freeway congestion is jumping back to pre-COVID levels.

MORE: Committee passes bill increasing Bay Area bridge tolls to fund public transportation

Their freeway pricing study aims to reduce travel times, encourage transit use and generate money for road safety improvements.

In 2022, MTC spokesperson John Goodwin said the study will address how new fees would impact low-income drivers.

"How do you make sure that the burdens are not born disproportionately by low-income people," Goodwin said.

MTC will be holding two workshops virtually.

Bay Area residents can weigh in on the tradeoffs between driving and taking transit.

MTC says any changes wouldn't happen before 2035.

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