If a proposed amendment makes its way through California’s
state legislature, it could mean more privatized toll roads and truck-only
lanes for the state’s highway system.
Billed as a financing mechanism by its supporters, the bill,
AB 850, would expand on a California pilot program to build a limited number of
toll roads by allowing the California Department of Transportation to partner
with private companies to build new roads.
The Los Angeles Daily News reported that while the
state would own the new roads, the private companies would be allowed to charge
tolls on them for up to 35 years. At that point, the state would assume control
of the tolls.
The plan is part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Go
California” package, designed to speed up construction and prevent the use of
transportation funds to fill gaps in the state’s general budget fund in the
Supporters of the bill say it could result in a variety of
new roads aimed at easing congestion in California, such as truck-only lanes
coming from California’s ports and elevated expressways that would be built
above existing freeways.
Existing freeways would continue to remain free under the
The bill is currently making its way through the state
legislature and is gaining support from both Republicans and Democrats.