The following is an op-ed from county Supervisor Dave Cortese.
With Tuesday’s opening of the SR 237 Express Lanes facility, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has achieved its first major milestone in delivering the Silicon Valley Express Lanes (SVEL) Program.
When fully built out, this program will allow solo drivers to access over 180 miles of carpool lanes, for a fee, generating much needed revenue for county transportation projects, as well as providing congestion relief for hundreds of thousands of commuters through more efficient use of existing roadways.
With employment in the Valley picking up, there have been noticeable increases in congestion on all our roads in recent weeks, and this project could not come at a more opportune time.
Leveraging the existing capacity in the carpool lanes will reduce congestion in the general purpose lanes, as well as provide toll lane users with fast, reliable travel times. In fact, travel time studies conducted in the weeks leading up and following Tuesday’s opening, have found that commuters in all lanes, including the general purpose lanes, are realizing benefits from the project. Commuters in the westbound Express Lanes experienced up to 16 minute travel time savings.
Although congestion relief is a central goal of the project, another huge benefit to county residents is the potential revenue generation from tolls. This revenue can be used for operation and maintenance costs, as well as for highly desired transit improvements within the corridor.
This project truly is a win-win for all commuters.