State transportation officials want to install toll lanes on a notoriously congested section of Interstate 405 in Orange County, but local officials aren't happy.
Caltrans on Friday reserved the right to add 14 miles of toll lanes between Seal Beach and Costa Mesa — where a section of the freeway gets more average daily traffic than any other in the nation — but local transportation officials point out the proposal is unfunded and would take away existing carpool lanes.
The stretch of freeway is already slated for a $1.3 billion taxpayer-funded expansion project that would add a regular lane in each direction, according to The Orange County Register. That project is paid for by a half-cent sales tax approved by Orange County voters.
Caltrans proposes converting existing carpool lanes to toll lanes and adding another toll lane in each direction, but it doesn't have the extra $400 million to make the idea a reality, said Shawn Nelson, an Orange County supervisor and chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority's board of directors.
Critics have called the toll lanes "Lexus lanes" because of the high price of using them. The tolls for the proposed lanes haven't been determined, but other toll lanes in Southern California can charge up to $10 for a one-way trip during rush hour.
Transportation officials around the region have increasingly turned to toll lanes to generate revenue and alleviate traffic, with mixed reviews.