Minnesota Is Getting Ready to Get Rid of Its Mn-PASS Lanes
If you travel during peak times in the Twin Cities metro, here's a head's up that those Mn-PASS lanes are going away soon.
Okay, while it's true that MnPASS itself, which is located on several interstates in the metro, IS going away, those high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are staying-- they're just being replaced with E-ZPass.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) made that announcement Thursday, noting that the new E-ZPass Minnesota lanes will replace MnPASS starting August 1st. MnDOT said there were several reasons for the change, the most important being that the new E-ZPass lanes will connect Minnesota with 19 other states in the Midwest and along the East Coast that also use E-ZPass.
MnDOT explained how the change will when the switchover is made August 1st:
E-ZPass Minnesota will operate the same as MnPASS, giving travelers a more reliable option during busy commuting hours on Interstate 35W south, I-35E and I-394. In addition, motorists will have a fourth express lane route available on I-35W between Roseville and Blaine in the north Twin Cities metro when construction is completed soon.
I can't say I've ever used any of Minnesota's HOV/MnPASS lanes, though I often drive right by the MnPASS lane on I-394 when heading to my brother's house in St. Louis Park. And I have driven on some other HOV lanes while on vacation in other states like California, Arizona and Colorado. MnDOT says Minnesota's new E-ZPass lanes will work like this:
During peak weekday hours (6-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m. Monday – Friday), E-ZPass will remain free for buses, motorcycles and vehicles with two or more people. Solo drivers pay a fee to use the E-ZPass lane during peak periods. Outside of these hours, the E-ZPass lane operates like a general lane and is free to all motorists—which is 90 percent of the time.
Minnesota first opened its MnPASS lanes 16 years ago, in 2005, after the Legislature passed a law allowing MnDOT to collect those user fees. Speaking of laws, do you know which major laws were passed when you were born? Keep scrolling to see which ones were!
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