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Toll Lane Legislation MnPASS Express Lanes

Provisions of the 2003 High Occupancy Toll Lane Legislation 160.93, Sec 7

The high occupancy toll lane legislation allows the Commissioner of Transportation to implement user fees on high occupancy vehicle lanes in Minnesota.

The goal of the legislation is to:

  • Improve operating efficiency in truck highway corridors
  • Provide more options to travelers

Fees can be collected electronically or by other methods:

  • May vary in amount by time of day
  • May vary with congestion

Use of fees collected:

  • Repay trunk highway fund or other fund source for cost of equipment and modifications in the corridor
  • Costs of implementing and administering the fee collection system
  • Excess revenues shall be spent as follows:
    • One-half for capital improvements in corridor
    • One-half transferred to Metropolitan Council for expansion and improvement on bus transit services in corridor in which funds are collected


  • Violators are guilty of a petty misdemeanor


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MnPASS is the Minnesota Department of Transportation's electronic toll collection system. MnPASS drivers lease a small electronic transponder that attaches to their windshield behind the rear view mirror. The toll is automatically deducted from their pre-paid MnPASS account by toll recording equipment located on the road. Fees vary in amount by the level of traffic congestion in the MnPASS lanes.

MnPASS provides drivers with a choice, helps control congestion on metro area roadways and provides a new source of revenue for transportation.

The I-35W MnPASS Express Lanes opened September 30th, 2009.

MnPASS Express Lanes opened on I-35W in 2009, connecting southern communities with downtown Minneapolis.






The I-394 MnPASS Express Lanes opened May 16, 2005.

Conversion of high occupancy vehicle lanes to high occupancy toll lanes (HOT Lanes) was authorized by the 2003 Minnesota Legislature. These lanes are also known as the MnPASS Express Lanes. These lanes permit single occupant drivers to pay a user fee to access the HOV lanes. This project is the first of its kind in Minnesota, and is a new and significant change in highway traffic management.


The project includes the use of various technologies such as signage, computers, software and in-vehicle equipment. The project also addresses enforcement issues, costs and hours of operation.

The I-394 MnPASS Express Lanes project was developed and completed through a public/private partnership involving the State of Minnesota and service vendor Wilbur Smith Associates. The private firm funded 20 percent of the project's estimated $10 million price tag.

Project Goal

The goal is to maximize capacity in the I-394 corridor and make better use of the capacity in the high occupancy vehicle lane.

I-394 Project Highlights

  • Carpoolers and bus users have free access and priority use.
  • Speeds at or near the posted limits are maintained by "dynamic" pricing that varies with demand and use of the lanes.
  • Drivers of single occupant vehicles choose to use these lanes on an as-needed basis by paying a fee.
  • Collection of the fees is automated, i.e. no toll booths.


  • Ensures continued priority in the corridor and enhanced services for transit and carpoolers
  • Provides a fast and reliable option for MnPASS
  • Improves operating efficiency in the I-394 corridor
  • Effectively manages the Express Lanes using the latest technology


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