California Searches for Ways to Ease Carpool Lane Congestion
SACRAMENTO, Calif. --- The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is trying to find ways to decrease congestion in the state's carpool lanes in order to avoid a federal funding cut.A few months ago, the Federal Highway Administration declared that California's carpool lanes were out of compliance with federal regulations requiring that such lanes flow at speeds of 45 mph or faster at rush hour. According to the Los Angeles Times, state officials are considering raising the $341 minimum fine for carpool lane violators and to increase law enforcement patrols to catch cheaters. It's estimated that 5 percent of drivers in the carpool lanes are cheaters. However, the California Highway Patrol is faced with finding ways to fund the additional patrols by officers. Some traffic experts have suggested that the state discontinue its program that allows single-occupant hybrid vehicles in the lanes. If implemented, that change would surely draw protests from hybrid owners. Other suggestions include requiring cars to have three occupants instead of just two, converting regular freeway lanes into carpool lanes, and charging to use the carpool lanes.