Congressman Miller Unveils the Free Way Act

Washington, May 8, 2008 -

Recently, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a plan to start charging for access to 183 miles of now free carpool lanes in exchange for $213.6 million in federal funding to buy more buses and build more park-and-ride lots.  In response, Congressman Gary Miller, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, today introduced H.R. 6002, the Free Way Act.  The bill would prohibit States and localities from charging carpoolers to access now free carpool lanes built with federal taxpayer money. 

“LAMTA’s short-sighted plan to charge for the use of carpool lanes is double-dipping into the pockets of hardworking Americans,” said Congressman Miller.  “We have already paid for these roads through federal, state, and local taxes.  Why should we pay again?   Under their proposal, our free-ways would be turned into fee-ways.  That is simply unacceptable.”

In addition to the cost to taxpayers, the proposal also threatens to increase freeway congestion.  According to LAMTA, existing carpool lanes are already nearing capacity.  By converting once free lanes to toll lanes, LAMTA will only push carpoolers into regular lanes, thereby exacerbating the already severe congestion problem in Southern California.

“No one will pay for something if they do not get something in return,” added Congressman Miller.  “Traditionally toll road users pay for speed.  LAMTA has said that drivers in the toll lanes will travel at least 45 to 50 MPH.  How high will they have to set the toll price and how many carpoolers will they have to shove out of the way to achieve this goal?  This makes no sense at all.  It will only increase prices and congestion for Southern California commuters.  That is why I have introduced the Free Way Act – to put an end to this foolish plan and put the ‘free’ back in freeway.”

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