Friday, July 08, 2005

In HOV Lanes, A Car is a Car

So why should drivers of low-emission hybrid vehicles get a pass on the three-passenger restrictions for HOV lanes? Plenty of drivers of old-fashioned gas guzzlers would like to see the exemption ended - they say there are so many hybrids on the HOV lanes now that it's undermining the carpooling function.

This AP story in today's Daily Press says that normally the federal government would withhold funding from states that exempted hybrids on HOV lanes, but Virginia "has a special waiver while Congress considers allowing the states to make their own rules for hybrids. Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Florida are poised to move ahead with similar incentives if the Senate passes a long-delayed highway bill."

By May of this year, says the AP, there were about 9,000 hybrid cars registered to use the HOV lanes - up from 2,500 two years ago.

The carpoolers have a pretty good point - they're already doing their share to cut congestion and pollution. Still, says VDOT spokeswoman Joan Morris: "Even if we got rid of all the violators tomorrow, we'd still have a capacity problem."


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