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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Toll lanes are a 1970s solution to congestion and bad air

Traffic on the 110 Freeway
Traffic moves slowly in both the regular and express lanes of the 110 Freeway.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In creating more toll lanes on California highways, transportation planners seem to be mixing up two different problems: poor air quality and congestion. In 1970, both problems could be addressed with one solution, but today that is not the case.

The solution on air quality is simple: Push electric vehicles. In principle, if all cars were electric, then even that most dystopian traffic jams would not result in worse air quality. In fact it would improve, as electric cars use less energy per mile at lower speeds.

The solution on congestion is affordable, convenient public transit. Creating more toll lanes only exacerbates the two problems above.

Also, don’t even get me started on the stupidity of carpool lanes. They take up space but don’t allow all vehicles to use them, and they disrupt traffic flow as drivers have to exit the carpool lanes to their right into a lane that is usually moving faster. These exit points contribute to congestion.

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The correct solution is to further incentivize electric vehicles, and now.

Gurmohan Bevli, Bellflower

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To the editor: As a frequent visitor to California, I find that I cannot drive on the the toll roads that rely exclusively on electronic toll collection systems. I have a toll collection device for my home state, which does not work in California.

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More and more states are converting to electronic toll systems with their own brand of transponder, causing inconvenience to people who do a lot of driving around the country. The idea of each of our 50 states having its own independent electronic toll collection system is preposterous.

It is long past time for California and other states to make their toll collection devices interoperable with systems in other states. The E-ZPass in the northeast U.S. is an example of how to achieve toll collection interoperability regionally. That example needs to be followed by California and all the other states.

Wayne Knight, McLean, Va.

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To the editor: It is outrageous that in this highly developed state, we continue to add lanes to freeways and are now looking at creating more toll lanes. Cities in every highly advanced country in the world have transit systems for commuters that are affordable and convenient.

Why don’t we look into putting a monorail down every freeway? This would reduce pollution, and having more commuters sharing space enhances our social well-being.

The expansion of our freeways and toll lanes clearly shows how the fuel and automobile industries influence our politicians. Shame on them.

Dee White, Capistrano Beach


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