Toll express lane proposed for I-580

March 25, 2008 8:51:20 AM PDT
How would you like to drive in an express lane on a congested stretch of Interstate 580? The catch is you'd have to pay a toll, if you're driving alone.

The Alameda County Congestion Management Agency says Interstate 580 is the second busiest Bay Area freeway, second only to I-80.

The agency is proposing an eastbound toll lane to ease congestion and frustration. The toll lane would stretch 12 miles and be accessible with FasTrak. Originally, the board approved an ordinary car pool lane. The state kicked in two-thirds of the $150 million dollar cost. Installing a FasTrak toll would cost an extra $10 million dollars. The actual cost to commuters is still undetermined, but a $4 or $5 dollar toll is expected with possibly higher tolls during the heavy commute hours.

"I guess $5 bucks would be okay," said Jay Ze, commuter.

"I work in San Francisco. I already paid $4 dollars on the Bay Bridge. If it's going to be another $4 dollars, that will be $8 dollars to go to work, plus gas, so too much. At that point I would consider taking BART," said Gerry Cruz, commuter.

The Congestion Management is expected to vote on the proposed toll lane within the year. If approved the 580 toll lane could be ready by 2011. Proponents say all the money would go right back into maintaining 580 and improving public transit along the corridor.