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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
June 4, 2010

For More Information, Contact:

Phil Yost (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – This week the California State Senate voted to approve State Senator Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) Senate Bill 1245. The bill would prohibit transit agencies from charging carpoolers for the use of high-occupancy traffic lanes.

“California has carpool lanes for good reasons,” said Simitian. “They encourage ridesharing, they speed up traffic, and they fight air pollution. The last thing we should do is throw up barriers to folks who are keeping extra cars off the road.”

Plans to convert California’s carpool lanes to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes – which allow solo drivers to pay for a faster commute – are on the rise. SB 1245 would ensure that any HOT lanes would not charge carpools to drive in them. Both the federal government and Caltrans recommend increased use of HOT lanes. 

Simitian notes that the notion of charging carpoolers for using the carpool lane, “isn’t just on its way, it’s already here.” Carpools on the 91 Freeway in Southern California are currently charged 50 percent of the posted toll at certain times of day.  And on July 1, the Bay Area Toll Authority will begin charging carpoolers who cross San Francisco Bay-area bridges at all times; currently, the toll is waived for carpoolers during rush hour.

“The notion of charging someone who’s carpooling for using the carpool lane, that’s already been built with taxpayer funding, is just over the top,” said Simitian.  “It’s both unfair and counterproductive.”

For more information on Senate Bill 1245, visit