The Orange County Register - Santa Ana, CA
MAY 31, 2015

Critics deride the express lanes planned for the I-405 expansion as “Lexus lanes” – a chunk of scarce road reserved for the well-heeled.

But they may turn out to be more like Toyota lanes.

The incomes of those who use toll lanes appears to vary with how the pay lanes are structured.

Drivers who use toll roads in Orange County do seem to have higher-than-average incomes. On the 16-mile stretch of the 73 toll road, motorists reported an average household income of $109,380, according to a 2010 survey of Fastrak accountholders, the most recent available.

That’s about 45 percent higher than the 2013 Orange County median household income of $75,422.

Those who drive the 133, 241 and 261 – also exclusively toll roads – reported making about $10,000 a year less.

But in the two express lanes on the 91, just 42 percent of account holders surveyed in 2014 reported annual household incomes of $100,000 or higher.

And in the hop-in, hop-out express lanes of the I-10 and I-110 highways in Los Angeles, the most common car make of Metro ExpressLanes accountholders was Toyota, followed by Honda, Ford and Chevrolet.

Lexus came in at eighth place.

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