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Hey Big Spender: You Can Now Pay to Drive Solo in the HOV Lane

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If you've got money to burn and are dying for yet one more way to let the world know, you have it: You can cruise at high speed past all the traffic-besieged hoi polloi solo and not risk a ticket.

Metro has announced the implementation of High Occupancy Toll lanes, which essentially means you can ride in the county's HOV lanes as long as you have an EZ Tag.

"The price of the tolls, ranging from $1 to $4.50, will be based on the time of day and level of congestion, and will be posted in advance of the entrance ramps," Metro says.

So if you're stuck in traffic you'll have an opportunity for an in-car impulse buy: Fork over a couple of bucks to go HOV, or hope things get better in Poor Folks Land?

The Gulf Freeway will be the first to get the HOT option (soon, Metro says), and then the policy will spread to the Southwest Freeway, the Eastex, H-45 North and U.S. 290.

Metro says it will "monitor the flow of the HOT Lanes to ensure traffic flows smoothly and does not dip below 50 mph."

Here's the schedule for installing HOTs:

IH-45 South - Winter 2012 US-59 South - Spring 2012 IH-45 North - Summer 2012 US 290 - Fall 2012 US-59 North - Winter 2013

If you don't have an EZ Tag, Metro will sell HOT tags starting later this month.

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