Paid express lanes grow more popular in once-reluctant South

Unlike traditional toll plazas where every vehicle that passes through pays a standard fee, price-managed lanes allow some drivers to pay up to circumvent congestion — and the fee usually increases as the traffic does.

According to the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), which lobbies on behalf of the projects, 54 of the 89 tolling facilities that opened in the U.S. in the past decade were for price-managed lanes. They can be found across the South in Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, as well as such other places as California, Colorado, Washington and Minnesota.

Opponents call them “Lexus lanes,” implying that only drivers of expensive cars can afford to use them, but Lee prefers another name: “choice lanes.”