No toll lanes, but the addition of very controversial 'High Occupancy Vehicle' lanes are proposed in the master plan for the expansion of I-10 on the fast growing Northwest side, unveiled last night by the Texas Department of Transportation, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The Interstate would be expanded from the current four main lanes, two in each direction, to eight lanes between Ralph Fair Road and La Cantera Parkway.

The entire project would be construction on the minimum 300 foot wide right of way now owned by TxDOT, removing the need for any property acquisition along the corridor, which has boomed with new businesses and new neighborhoods over the last seven years.

Cindy Gilpin, who uses I-10 every day to commute to work from her home in Fair Oaks Ranch, likes the idea of additional lanes, but she is not in love with the HOV concept.

"My tax dollars go to all of those lanes," she said.  "They not talking about cutting my taxes because I won't be able to drive on that lane.  The TxDOT guy said I have a choice, but he is making my choice for me."

The plan for I-10, unlike the major $800 million dollar expansion on Loop 1604, does not include any toll lanes.Jonathan Bean of TxDOT says they're willing to compromise by allowing minimally filled vehicles to use the HOV lane."It'll definitely start out at two plus," he said. "That will have to be monitored, and over time, that policy can change.  It is all based on making sure that lane continues to operate at a very good level of service."

HOV lanes, while discredited as a way of convincing motorists to swap their car for public transportation, is a key part of any effective bus strategy, because it allows buses to keep to a fixed schedule.  Nobody wants to get out of their car and pay bus fare, only having the bus stuck in the same traffic jams that plague I-10 today.

TxDOT's Laura Lopez says I-10 traffic growth has boomed just in the last few years, and all the development, which has essentially eliminated the empty space which used to exist between San Antonio and Boerne, means that growth will continue."

When you look down the road at 2039, you're looking at close to 150,000 vehicles that will be traveling on that corridor per day," she said. "So there is definitely the need for expansion due to the growth."That 150,000 vehicles is nearly double the number of vehicles which travel on I-10 today.