In Utah, solo drivers snap up express-lane passes

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Utah has opened its first fee-for-service highway by allowing a limited number of solo drivers to use carpool lanes on Interstate 15 for a monthly $50 fee. The initial offering of 600 passes is sold out.

The state is providing the service because carpool lanes average less than half their capacity. Opening up the lanes will result in more efficient use of all the interstate’s lanes.

The carpool lanes, also called high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, are on 38 miles of interstate between Salt Lake City and Orem. Solo drivers pay $50 per vehicle per month to use the lanes and are issued decals; a new color decal is used each month. Solo drivers in the express lanes without the passes will be fined between $82 and $92, and extra troopers will be patrolling to ensure it.

Other states where fee-charging express lanes can be found include California, Colorado and Minnesota.