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Good Question: How Is MnPASS Enforced?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There are 35,000 people with a MnPASS in Minnesota. They pay to be able to use the HOV lanes on 35W, 35E and 394 during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Ryan from Apple Valley is one of those drivers. He asks WCCO how MnPASS is enforced. Good Question.

"We have six troopers that are dedicated to driving the lanes, enforcing the lanes during peak travel times," says Bobbie Dahlke with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "They drive the corridor back and forth, back and forth."

Since August, MnDOT has had a contract with the MN Department of Public Safety to have six full-time troopers patrol the areas of 394, 35W and 35W where MnPASS is in place. There is always at least one trooper on each of those highways during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Once a week, the State Patrol will add extra enforcement.

If a trooper only sees one person in a car, he or she will look for a driver's transponder in the window. Single drivers without one will get pulled over. Troopers can also tell if the transponder is on or off.

"They're becoming familiar with the lanes themselves – the driving, patterns, violations and what to look for," says Dahlke.

In January 2017, troopers gave 307 MnPass/HOV citations or warnings. That averages to about 14/day. The fine, depending on the county, can range between $150 and $200.

MnDOT is not testing tools that would alert troopers to the exact time a driver turned on the transponder. It is also studying other highways, like 169 from Shakopee to Golden Valley, to determine if it would be a good candidate for MnPASS.

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