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Chicago Congestion Pricing Plan Unveiled: Could New Lanes Cut Commute Times?

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Congestion pricing could be coming soon to the Chicago area's oft-clogged roadways.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning on Monday launched a campaign that aims to build support for a plan that could trim nearly a half hour off of morning commute times -- for a price, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The plan, according to WBEZ, would add separate lanes to area expressways -- including the Addams, Eisenhower and Stevenson -- that would charge a premium for being used during peak traffic times.

According to ABC Chicago, if the plan is approved, it will likely first be implemented on the Addams tollway as early as next year. Three new roadways -- the Elgin-O'Hare west bypass, the northern Highway 53 extension and the Highway 120 bypass -- would feature congestion pricing in all of its lanes.

(Would you pay to use the proposed new lanes? Vote below.)

"In the short run, really, what we'd like to do is provide travelers with choices to get around," Jesse Elam, CMAP spokesman told ABC. "In the longer run, we really want to find a good way to manage congestion adequately."

But how much would it cost? According to CMAP's proposal, drivers would be charged between 5 cents and 31 cents per mile during rush hour, the Tribune reports.

A similar plan was implemented in London in 2003 and has also been used in Orange County, Calif., and Minneapolis, to name two stateside examples.

CMAP has created an interactive website that explains the proposal in more detail.

Quick Poll

Chicago: Would you pay a premium for getting to your destination faster?


Photo by PhillipC via Flickr.

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