The new toll lanes on the finished I-10 product may cost more to drive during rush hour.
The Harris County Toll Road Authority is recommending the court set a rate of $1.25 during nonpeak hours for the trip between Texas 6 and the West Loop and double that during the morning and evening rush hours.
The court voted last June to double tolls on the Westpark Tollway during rush hours but overturned its decision days later following a public outcry over the plan.
The court is expected to set the prices for toll lanes on the Katy Freeway in the coming months.
The decision on imposing peak-hour pricing rests with Commissioners Court, [Peter Key, HCTRA deputy director,] said.
"We think (peak-hour) pricing is the most effective way to keep traffic flowing and the safest way," Key said.
County Judge Ed Emmett said, "We have to maintain a certain speed in those lanes, and congestion pricing is supposed to do that."
If a $2.50 toll did not keep traffic flowing at a minimum of 45 mph, the toll road authority could recommend that the court raise the price, Key said.
"If we don't maintain that flowing traffic in that (Katy Freeway toll area), we will have to make changes," he said. "One potential change would be the toll rate."
Vehicles with three or more occupants will be able to travel for free in the eastbound toll lanes from 6 to 11 a.m. and in the westbound toll lanes from 2 to 8 p.m., year-round.
Besides high-occupancy vehicles, only vehicles with EZ Tags will be allowed to travel the toll lanes.
UPDATE: Michael Jones explains it in the comments:
My understanding is the three "tolling plazas" will be manned during the AM and PM rush to monitor compliance. Each toll plaza will have multiple lanes, and drivers will be told to use the one closest the monitoring station if they have 3 or more.
Less than three in the "three or more" lane, and the monitor pushes a button, and your EZ tag is charged.
During non-rush periods, the lane will be closed (forcing everyone into the full-time toll lanes) or will be switched to full-time toll.