Changes Coming to Katy HOV

Motorists who use the I-10 Katy Freeway HOV lane could see some major and radical changes in their daily commutes, if the Harris County Toll Road Authority has its way. The Authority starts a series of public meetings on the proposed changes today, as Jim Bell reports.

The Toll Road Authority wants to replace the single HOV lane with four lanes, two going each way 24 hours a day, and require users to register with the authority and have an EZ Tag.  The lanes will be free during morning and afternoon rush hours for high occupancy vehicles, but single occupant vehicles will be able to use them for a toll. Outside rush hours, all users will pay a toll.  Spokeswoman LaWanda Howse says that’s why the EZ Tag will be mandatory. 

“All users will have to have an EZ Tag, but if you want to take advantage of the HOV peak hours with one or more persons in your car, you must register with this agency using your tag.”

Howze says these proposals will achieve their goals only if access to and use of the managed lanes are strictly enforced, and they will be.

“And we’re going to have law enforcement out there, stationed at every entrance and exit. They’re going to be out there enforcing this. You can try to cheat, but you’re going to be really risking doing so.”

These changes require approval of Harris County Commissioners, and Howse says the Toll Road Authority will present its proposals to Commissioners Court sometime soon.  Meanwhile, the authority will hold the first of five public meetings on the proposals tonight. 

Here’s the schedule for the public meetings:

August 14th:   Kendall Branch Library, 14330 Memorial
August 19th:   Katy Elementary School Cafeteria, 5726 George Bush
August 21st:   Memorial Church of Christ, 900 Echo Lane
August 26th:   Cinco Ranch Library, 2620 Commercial Center
August 28th:   Heights Branch Library, 1302 Heights Blvd.

All the meetings start at 6pm.

 Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.