SMCEL-JPA Adopts Toll Ordinance

June 15, 2021

The San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (SMCEL-JPA) Board of Directors adopted a Toll Ordinance to establish a process for toll collection and enforcement on the new US 101 express lanes in San Mateo County at its June Board Meeting. The first phase of the lanes opening from the Santa Clara county line to Whipple Avenue is estimated at the end of 2021, with the second phase from Whipple to I-380 by the end of 2022.

Tolls will be applied to express lane customers unless they are eligible for a toll-free trip, and will be charged through the FasTrak system. All customers must have a FasTrak Flex to use the express lanes, as that allows them to disclose how many passengers they are carrying. Customers without a FasTrak will be in violation and will be subject to fines and penalties. Tolls will be adjusted during operating hours depending on demand and traffic patterns, with the goal of keeping express lane traffic flowing smoothly.

Customers driving carpools with three or more people will be able to travel free of tolls in the express lanes. Customers driving vehicles with two people or certain clean air vehicles (CAVs), such as cars that run on fuel cells, battery or plug-in hybrids that have a valid CAV decal from the Department of Motor Vehicles, will qualify for a 50% toll discount when the lanes first open. The Board will revisit the discount before the opening of the second phase.

Over the past several months, a range of tolling policies were discussed and explored by the Board of Directors to determine what would work best for the San Mateo County express lanes. Earlier in the year the Board was presented with several options for their consideration before their approval of the current Toll Ordinance at the June 2021 meeting.


About the SMCEL-JPA: Created to own, manage, and administer the operation and maintenance of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Project. For more information:

Media Contact: Dan Lieberman, 650.622.2492