Via New York Times
GARDENA, Calif. — They call them freeways for a reason.
But one of the symbols of the American freeway — Interstate 110, which runs, or rather crawls, across central Los Angeles — is free no more. At precisely 10 p.m. last Saturday, motorists faced a toll of up to $15.40 for the privilege of driving an 11-mile stretch of express lanes between Gardena and downtown Los Angeles.
Never mind that tolls have been around as long as dirt roads and covered bridges, and that congestion pricing — as this is known — has become embraced by metropolises across the country to combat traffic and pollution. And never mind that the toll’s reach here is limited to lone drivers willing to pay up to $1.40 a mile, depending on traffic, for a money-back guarantee that their average speed will never drop below 45 miles per hour.
This is the first toll in the history of Los Angeles County, a passage, as it were, and a jarring experience for a part of the country that has long celebrated the primacy of automobiles, not to mention the first syllable of the word “freeway.”
“I’ve been living here my whole life,” S. Masani Jackson said as she waited in a 30-person line to buy the transponder required to enter the exclusive lanes. “And I have never had to pay for the 110 Freeway. It’s ridiculous.”
Read Full Post Here.