Allow States to Let Hybrids Use the Diamond Lanes
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced legislation that would allow states to permit hybrid vehicles to use diamond lanes (high-occupancy vehicle lanes). This legislation, the Hybrid HOV Access Act, would enable California to implement the recently passed law that allows high-mileage hybrids to use diamond lanes. Currently, federal law only permits high-occupancy (usually two persons), natural gas and electric vehicles to use HOV lanes.
The new California law, authored by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, allows 45 miles-per-gallon hybrids to use diamond lanes. However the California law cannot go into effect without new federal legislation.
œMy legislation encourages the use of hybrid vehicles. It allows the states to decide whether to allow hybrids to use the diamond lanes. It also allows states to decide that only high-mileage hybrids are permitted to use diamond lanes, said Sherman.
œI am pleased that my approach has the support of Governor Schwarzenegger, and am working to build support in Congress, especially among California Republicans, added Sherman.
Governor Schwarzenegger expressed last week in Japan that œwere the number one state really interested in energy-efficient cars¦ diamond lanes [should be] open to those cars... He also cited the new California law while encouraging Japanese automakers to build new hybrid vehicle plants in California.
œOpposition to the bill comes from those who insist that if a state allows high-mileage hybrids to use the diamond lanes, it must allow all hybrids, even potentially hybrid Hummers. I think the California law, which opens the diamond lanes only to hybrids that get 45 mpg, ought to be allowed to go into effect, said Sherman.
Late last year, Sherman introduced legislation that would extend the $2,000 tax deduction for hybrid vehicle purchases for three more years. This provision was included in the comprehensive tax bill that President Bush signed into law on October 22, 2004.
For information or a copy of the legislation, contact Sharon Singh at 202.225.5911 or Sharon.Singh@mail.house.gov