ALLOWING HYBRIDS INTO HOV LANES INCLUDED IN TRANSPORTATION BILL
Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks, CA) applauded the inclusion of a provision that would permit high-mileage hybrid vehicles to use diamond lanes (HOV) in the Transportation Equity Act, H.R. 3. This provision is similar to the legislation that Sherman and his Republican colleague, Darrell Issa (R-Vista, CA) introduced earlier this year “ The Hybrid Vehicle HOV Access Act, H.R. 444.
The provision in H.R. 3 would enable California to implement the recently-passed state law that allows high-mileage hybrids to use diamond lanes. Current federal law permits only high-occupancy (usually two persons), natural gas and electric vehicles to use HOV lanes.
The California law, authored by Assemblywoman Fran Pavley and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, allows 45 miles-per-gallon hybrids to use carpool lanes. The law was to go into effect January 1, but implementation has been indefinitely delayed until new federal legislation passed.
H.R. 3 would permit states to regulate when and where high-mileage hybrid vehicles would be exempt from HOV regulations within the state. This means that a state could limit or restrict this exemption in areas where the HOV lanes are already at full capacity.
œI believe it is important that the States have the flexibility to regulate the hybrid use of HOV lanes within their state, said Sherman. œIn some areas, it may not be favorable to have hybrids in HOV lanes due to congestion; in other areas, allowing hybrids in HOV lanes may provide incentive for consumers to use this technology. In either case, the decision should be left up to the states “ and the federal government should permit the states to make this decision.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3 earlier today, and the bill will move to the Senate for their consideration.