CA Sts & High Code Section 149.6


Notwithstanding Sections 149 and 30800, and Section 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) created by Part 12 (commencing with Section 100000) of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code may conduct, administer, and operate a value pricing program on any two of the transportation corridors included in the high-occupancy vehicle lane system in Santa Clara County in coordination with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and consistent with Section 21655.6 of the Vehicle Code. A high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane established on State Highway Route 101 pursuant to this section may extend into San Mateo County as far as the high-occupancy vehicle lane in that county existed as of January 1, 2011, subject to agreement of the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County.


VTA, under the circumstances described in subdivision (b), may direct and authorize the entry and use of those high-occupancy vehicle lanes by single-occupant vehicles for a fee. The fee structure shall be established from time to time by the authority. A high-occupancy vehicle lane may only be operated as a HOT lane during the hours that the lane is otherwise restricted to use by high-occupancy vehicles.


VTA shall enter into a cooperative agreement with the Bay Area Toll Authority to operate and manage the electronic toll collection system.


With the consent of the department, VTA shall establish appropriate performance measures, such as speed or travel times, for the purpose of ensuring optimal use of the HOT lanes by high-occupancy vehicles without adversely affecting other traffic on the state highway system. Unrestricted access to the lanes by high-occupancy vehicles shall be available at all times, except that those high-occupancy vehicles may be required to have an electronic transponder or other electronic device for enforcement purposes. At least annually, the department shall audit the performance during peak traffic hours and report the results of that audit at meetings of the program management team.


Single-occupant vehicles that are certified or authorized by the authority for entry into, and use of, the high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Santa Clara County, and, if applicable, San Mateo County as provided in subdivision (a), are exempt from Section 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code, and the driver shall not be in violation of the Vehicle Code because of that entry and use.


VTA shall carry out the program in cooperation with the department pursuant to an agreement that addresses all matters related to design, construction, maintenance, and operation of state highway system facilities in connection with the value pricing program.


(1)Agreements between VTA, the department, and the Department of the California Highway Patrol shall identify the respective obligations and liabilities of those entities and assign them responsibilities relating to the program. The agreements entered into pursuant to this section shall be consistent with agreements between the department and the United States Department of Transportation relating to this program. The agreements shall include clear and concise procedures for enforcement by the Department of the California Highway Patrol of laws prohibiting the unauthorized use of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes, which may include the use of video enforcement. The agreements shall provide for reimbursement of state agencies, from revenues generated by the program, federal funds specifically allocated to the authority for the program by the federal government, or other funding sources that are not otherwise available to state agencies for transportation-related projects, for costs incurred in connection with the implementation or operation of the program.


The revenues generated by the program shall be available to VTA for the direct expenses related to the operation (including collection and enforcement), maintenance, construction, and administration of the program. The VTA’s administrative costs in the operation of the program shall not exceed 3 percent of the revenues.


All remaining revenue generated by the program shall be used in the corridor from which the revenues were generated exclusively for the preconstruction, construction, and other related costs of high-occupancy vehicle facilities, transportation corridor improvements, and the improvement of transit service, including, but not limited to, support for transit operations pursuant to an expenditure plan adopted by the VTA. To the extent a corridor extends into San Mateo County pursuant to subdivision (a), VTA and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County shall, by agreement, determine how remaining revenue shall be shared for expenditure in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County consistent with this paragraph.


(1)The VTA may issue bonds, refunding bonds, or bond anticipation notes, at any time to finance construction and construction-related expenditures necessary to implement the value pricing program established pursuant to subdivision (a) and construction and construction-related expenditures that are provided for in the expenditure plan adopted pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (e), payable from the revenues generated from the program.


The maximum bonded indebtedness that may be outstanding at any one time shall not exceed an amount that may be serviced from the estimated revenues generated from the program.


The bonds shall bear interest at a rate or rates not exceeding the maximum allowable by law, payable at intervals determined by the authority.


Any bond issued pursuant to this subdivision shall contain on its face a statement to the following effect: “Neither the full faith and credit nor the taxing power of the State of California is pledged to the payment of principal of, or the interest on, this bond.”


Bonds shall be issued pursuant to a resolution of VTA adopted by a two-thirds vote of its governing board. The resolution shall state all of the following:


The purposes for which the proposed debt is to be incurred.


The estimated cost of accomplishing those purposes.


The amount of the principal of the indebtedness.


The maximum term of the bonds and the interest rate.


The denomination or denominations of the bonds, which shall not be less than five thousand dollars ($5,000).


The form of the bonds, including, without limitation, registered bonds and coupon bonds, to the extent permitted by federal law, the registration, conversion, and exchange privileges, if applicable, and the time when all of, or any part of, the principal becomes due and payable.


Any other matters authorized by law.


The full amount of bonds may be divided into two or more series and different dates of payment fixed for the bonds of each series. A bond shall not be required to mature on its anniversary date.


Not later than three years after VTA first collects revenues from any of the projects described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), VTA shall submit a report to the Legislature on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations concerning the demonstration program authorized by this section. The report shall include an analysis of the effect of the HOT lanes on adjacent mixed-flow lanes and any comments submitted by the department and the Department of the California Highway Patrol regarding operation of the lanes.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 149.6’s source at ca​.gov