South San Francisco, CA April 27, 2022 Press Release
Following the opening of new express lanes on Highway 101 in San Mateo County, the first choice-based equity program in the U.S. launched this month, called the 101 Express Lanes Community Transportation Benefits Program. The San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (JPA) has been working closely with the community, community-based organizations and other local experts over the past two years to develop the program.
No other express lanes equity program in the country has the level of inclusive eligibility requirements nor offers the options that qualifying residents can receive as part of the program.
“We partnered with Samaritan House and San Mateo County’s Core Service Agencies Network to bring new transportation benefits to the region helping to make the system more equitable for those in the community who have historically been underserved,” said Diane Papan, JPA Chair and Deputy Mayor of San Mateo. “Local service agencies will enroll eligible individuals who will have two choices available in this initial phase for receiving transportation assistance, specifically a $100 preloaded Clipper Card or FasTrak transponder.”
As one of San Mateo’s leading nonprofits, Samaritan House’s free service offerings help over 20,000 low-income and homeless San Mateo County residents a year, but never before has there been a transportation benefit.
“Samaritan House is delighted to partner with the San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority on the new 101 Express Lanes Community Transportation Benefits Program,” said La Trice Taylor, Associate Director of Programs and Services at Samaritan House. “This program will leverage revenue from the new express lanes to help low-income people in San Mateo County get to where they need to go. It is going to make a big impact on our clients’ lives.”
By providing multiple options from which to choose, the program aims to improve mobility for people without cars by allowing them to decide for themselves the benefit that best supports their unique needs.
“We thank our partners at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission who have made it possible to get FasTrak transponder and Clipper Card benefits into people’s hands through this program,” said Rico E. Medina, Chair of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) Board of Directors and Mayor of San Bruno. “These benefits will not only take some pressure off pocketbooks, but will help bring new riders and drivers onto the region’s transit and express lanes systems in the long run.”
The lane opening in February earlier this year includes the first eight miles of 22 miles of tolled express lanes on U.S. Highway 101 in San Mateo County, covering Whipple Avenue to the San Mateo/Santa Clara County line. The remaining 14 miles north of Whipple Avenue to I-380 in San Bruno is slated to open late 2022. The revenues generated from the new express lanes will directly fund the program, providing a steady stream of revenue that supports those in the community who need assistance most.
“The Express Lane revenues will allow us to test different strategies on how to best help low-income families,” said Papan at the Express Lanes ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 11. “We are not going to return to normal; we are choosing something better, for all of us.”
To learn more about the Program, please visit: https://smcexpresslanes.org/