Under Section 166 of Title 23, existing HOV lanes may be converted to tolled operation provided that the local MPO endorses the use and amount of tolls on the converted lanes. All tolls on new lanes must be variably priced and collected electronically in order to manage travel demand. To implement tolls on an existing HOV lane, project sponsors must demonstrate that the conditions on the facility are not already degraded and that the presence of paying vehicles will not cause conditions on facility to become degraded. Ongoing annual reporting documenting conditions on the converted lanes is also required, and if the HOV facility becomes degraded the sponsor must bring the facility into compliance either by increasing HOV occupancy requirements, increasing tolls, increasing capacity, or eliminating access to paying motorists.
The following certification provisions apply whenever an HOV lane is converted to HOT operations under Section 166:
The prior requirement to execute a tolling agreement with FHWA for HOV lane conversion is no longer in place under MAP-21. For toll facilities that have Section 166 tolling agreements prior to October 1, 2012, the term of those agreements continue to apply.
The use of toll revenues from facilities authorized under Section 166 is government by the requirements of Section 129. Under MAP-21 Section 129 imposes a new requirement for annual audits to ensure compliance with these limitations. These annual audits must be transmitted to USDOT. If the Secretary concludes that the public authority with responsibility for the toll facility is not in compliance with the restrictions, the Secretary may require that toll collection on the facility be discontinued until an agreement is reached to achieve compliance. Additional guidance will be developed in the future regarding use of toll revenue and compliance.
For more information on the Section 166 HOV/HOT Program, please contact:
FHWA Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590