Media Contact: Tasha Bartholomew, 650-339-5257
The San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Now Fully Operational
The San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (SMCEL-JPA) is excited to announce that the full San Mateo 101 Express Lanes corridor is now open and operational. This multi-year, multi-agency project is designed to reduce traffic congestion and will enhance travel for motorists, carpools/vanpools and transit operators in the area.
The project is comprised of 22 miles of express lanes in each direction on U.S. 101 from the San Mateo County/Santa Clara County Line to I-380 in South San Francisco. The San Mateo 101 Express Lanes seamlessly connects to the express lanes in Santa Clara County.
“The U.S. 101 corridor is a critical trade and commute route running through the Peninsula connecting San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The region continues to experience significant economic growth resulting in increased congestion on U.S. 101,” said Rico E. Medina, Chair for the SMCEL-JPA. “The fully operational express lanes are a new mobility option that will help reduce traffic congestion, provide more reliable travel times, encourage carpooling and transit use, and provide funding for equity programs for all users of U.S. 101 in San Mateo County.”
The San Mateo 101 Express Lanes will operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, and they are managed by dynamic pricing, meaning toll rates will be adjusted based on lane use for more reliable trips times for vehicles, including transit. The cost to access the lanes will be clearly displayed on electronic overhead signs so motorists will know the trip cost prior to entering the express lanes.
All motorists that use the express lanes must have a valid FasTrak® account with a FasTrak® Flex toll tag or FasTrak® CAV (Clean Air Vehicle) toll tag displayed in the vehicle. Those without valid FasTrak® toll tags will be in violation and are subject to fines and penalties. For more information about FasTrak® or to purchase a toll tag, visit https://getfastrak.org/.
“The added 22 miles of express lanes will provide many benefits to the region and the use of modern technology to manage traffic will aid in reducing congestion in the corridor while improving travel times and reliability for transit customers, carpool groups and motorists,” said Alicia Aguirre, Vice Chair for the SMCEL-JPA.
The construction of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes was completed in two phases. The first phase from San Mateo County/Santa Clara County line to Whipple Avenue opened to traffic last year in February 2022. The SMCEL-JPA also funds the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Community Transportation Benefits Program that helps cover transportation costs for qualifying individuals in San Mateo County. Participants can choose from a $100 transit credit on a Clipper Card or a $100 Toll Credit on a FasTrak transponder.
The $581 million San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Project, which was completed within budget, was funded through a combination of federal, state, local, regional, and private contributions. With more than $53 million pledged from the private sector, this is one of the largest public/private infrastructure partnerships in the history of the region. Additional funds include $9.5 million in federal funding and nearly $307 million in state funding.
Caltrans managed the design and construction of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes in partnership with The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG). The Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority, a Joint Powers Authority between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority, will operate the express lanes under contract by the SMCEL-JPA.
“The US 101 Express Lanes project is a wonderful example of agency partnership and collaboration. Together, Caltrans, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, City/ County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) have worked together to open the express lanes through San Mateo County,” said Dina El-Tawansy, Caltrans District 4 Director. “With funding from the state’s Senate Bill 1 (SB1) program, the region, the county and major businesses, these lanes will help improve the quality of life, promote carpooling and transit and enhance equity and access for all Californians who travel this vital corridor.”
About the SMCEL-JPA: The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) formed SMCEL-JPA in 2019 to manage the express lanes. The SMCEL-JPA is responsible for setting policies for operations of the express lanes.