A proposal to convert the carpool lanes on three Los Angeles County freeways into toll roads could be a boon to frustrated solo commuters willing to pay for a quicker drive to work, the Los Angeles Times reports.


But the big losers could be motorists who now use the carpool lanes for free. Carpoolers would also have to pay a toll, possibly reduced. Also, the proposal provides no toll exemptions for hybrid vehicles that can now use carpool lanes regardless of the number of passengers.


The concept doesn't sit well with some carpoolers and others, who argue that the lanes should remain free for ride-sharers, which they say reduces pollution and traffic.


"I think it's a horrible direction to go and I think it's immoral to sell the diamond lanes," said Charles Tarlow, a Mid-City resident. "I also think it's outrageous that the feds take the position that they'll give us millions of dollars for lanes that exclude people who can't afford to pay for congestion pricing. If they want to help, let's get some mass transit in here -- and if they want mass transit, then let's have taxes for that."


Karen Leonard, a UC Irvine professor who uses the 405 carpool lanes to commute between her home in Cheviot Hills and Irvine, said she's concerned but wants to see what the price would be.

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