Would you pay to bypass traffic on Phoenix freeway?

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PHOENIX – The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane could be opened for drivers who are willing to pay.

There could be relief for frustrated drivers in the future.

“If I'm that desperate, I'll pay about $20,” one motorist said.

There are “HOT” lanes, or high occupancy toll lanes, in several other states including Colorado, California and Florida.

“We are in the very, very beginning stages of it,” said Robert Hazlett with the Maricopa Association of Governments.

The association is planning to pay for a study to see if HOT lanes are right for the Valley.

The HOT lane would be free for high-occupancy vehicles like it is now. The difference is cars with just one person would be given the option to drive in the lane as well by paying a rate based on the traffic load, which would be between $2 to $9.

It is still unclear how much it would cost to convert current lanes and whether that cost would fall on taxpayers.

Officials are also unsure of whether a private company or agency like the Arizona Department of Transportation would operate the HOT lanes.

The study on the lanes is scheduled to start in March and take up to two years to complete. The soonest drivers could see HOT lanes is 2016.