Interstate 25 traffic and exhaust fumes Denver Colorado

Traffic on Interstate 25 in Denver.

“They are only for the rich.”

“They represent a form of double taxation.”

“They won’t address long-term congestion problems.”

Those are, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the myths about express lanes — the tolled road lanes that drivers can choose to enter for a faster drive.

Drivers can pay to use the lanes when they are convenient, as opposed to toll roads that require payment for all vehicles.

As CPR reports, the state plans to study adding express lanes on Interstate 25 as far north as Longmont and as far south as Castle Rock, and on Interstate 70 as far west as Georgetown.

There are approximately 69 miles of express lanes in Colorado, and the state has the largest quantity of express lanes outside of urban areas.

Nick Farber with the state’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise told CPR that another 142 miles of lanes are planned. 

The state is developing an Express Lanes master plan. CDOT data suggest that express lanes have some effect on reducing travel times in the free, general purpose lanes.

HPTE’s mission is to “aggressively pursue” public-private partnerships, tolls, and agreement with private transportation companies--although CDOT points out that the agency still owns the roads.

Per its fiscal year 2019 budget request, “CDOT has a large backlog of work to do on state highways.” Increases in construction costs have outpaced the department's revenues. The latest attempt at infusing transportation money, Proposition CC, failed at the ballot box on Tuesday.

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