The most expensive toll on the 91 Express Lanes tollway in Orange County will hit $10 during tonight’s evening commute.
The 10-mile-long tollway, owned by the Orange County Transportation Authority, sits in the median of the state Route 91 freeway, which remains free. All tolls are charged through electronic transponders.
The highway links Orange County job centers with Riverside County bedroom communities. The toll lanes are operated on a congestion-pricing scheme, in which the pricing is designed to ensure that traffic in the toll lanes flows at highway speeds.
The latest adjustment increases the peak toll — charged to leave Orange County between 3 and 4 p.m. today — by 75 cents to $10. Tolls are as low as $1.20 in the middle of the night.
The tollway was built and originally operated as a for-profit enterprise, an arrangement that proved controversial because the toll concession included non-compete clauses limiting the ability of state and local governments to expand the adjoining toll-free lanes.
The non-compete clause was eliminated by having a government agency buy the tollway.
The Orange County Transportation Authority purchased 91 Express Lanes in 2003 in a transaction financed with $193 million of tax-exempt toll revenue bonds.