MnDOT gears up to nab carpool lane cheaters

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is expanding new technology across the metro area to better identify drivers illegally using MnPass freeway lanes, with the goal of making the system operative by the end of the year…

MnDOT plans to spend $370,000 this fall to install flashing beacons and tag readers along interstates 35W, 35E and 394 to help state troopers identify carpool lane cheaters.

Carpool lanes are free during morning and afternoon rush periods — 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays — for vehicles with two or more occupants, as well as buses and motorcycles. Drivers who are alone in the car must pay a toll to use them.

State officials estimate that about one in six motorists using the toll lanes in 2019 were flouting the law. Paying customers complained, saying that more vehicles in the special lanes slowed traffic and defeated the purpose of congestion relief.