With no HOT lane fare increase, how do you improve traffic flow?

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When the Harris County Toll Road Authority announced it planned to increase the Katy managed lanes tolls to $10 each way last month, it received a lot of backlash from commuters, and eventually suspended the rate hike.

Shortly after the announcement, METRO also mentioned a proposed increase in tolls that would go to the board Thursday.

It's good news for HOT lane users who didn't want to start spending an extra two dollars during peak hours on 290/Northwest Freeway, 59/Southwest Freeway and I-45/North freeway.

METRO decided not to increase HOT lane fares. However, METRO still needed to find a way to improve traffic flow and keep travel at a 45 mile per hour speed. So their latest proposal is to extend their closure for HOV users.

"Right now, it's closed for only HOV users from 5 to 6, so they're going to extend that closure for HOVs only from 4:30 to 6, which allows us to manage that free-flow operation,' said METRO CEO Tom Lambert. "If you're an HOV user, carpooler, motorcyclist, or if you use transit van pools, you use the lanes. If you're a single occupant car, you cannot use the lanes between 4:30pm and 6pm."

METRO is confident this will pass at Thursday morning's board meeting, and if it does, the new hours will take effect August 1.

We'll keep you updated on the outcome of the meeting.
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