The Metro Board of Directors approved a proposal Thursday to enact a one-year pilot program to test decriminalizing the I-110 and I-10 ExpressLanes.
Currently, Metro's ExpressLane model requires every user to have a transponder installed in their vehicle, but if they do not, cameras take photos of the car's license plate and send the driver a $25 fine in the mail. If a California Highway Patrol officer pulls over a car in the ExpressLane without a transponder, the driver can get a $250 citation.
"Using our ExpressLanes can be daunting to someone who is not a savvy ExpressLane driver," said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who introduced the proposal. "The signage is confusing and I know there are plenty of people who have not gone through the trouble of getting a transponder. My hope is that this pilot program makes our ExpressLanes more user friendly and less punitive."
Hahn's "Pay-As-You-Use" model would allow a driver without a transponder to use the ExpressLane without receiving a ticket, but to rather get a bill in the mail with instructions to pay the congestion fee with an additional $4 administrative fee.
Metro' s Board of Directors unanimously approved the one-year pilot program, which will take an estimated nine months to set up.