WOODLAND HILLS—Local Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield's bill that would allow new clean-energy vehicles free access to toll lanes was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, September 28.
Several reports indicate AB2405 would be in effect should California cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego choose to convert existing carpool lanes to high-occupancy toll lanes to help reduce congestion in the state.
The bill seeks to encourage drivers to buy plug-in hybrids and certified zero-emission vehicles. These include vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen fuel cells, or compressed natural gas.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is testing a pilot project of HOT lanes on interstates 10 and 110. In addition, the San Francisco Bay area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission is developing a regional HOT network.
Blumenfield's bill comes as a program that permitted solo drivers of hybrid vehicles to access carpool lanes ended on July 1, 2011. Hybrid vehicles run on gasoline and batteries.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will be issuing stickers to qualified clean air vehicles that will allow solo drivers access to existing carpool lanes.
Approximately 19,000 white stickers for certified zero-emission vehicles and about 100 green stickers for plug-in hybrid cars have been issued by the DMV as of May 2012.
No cap currently exists for white stickers while green stickers are limited to 40,000. Yellow stickers for hybrid cars are no longer valid.
For more information about vehicles eligible for single occupant carpool lanes please visit www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/carpool/carpool.htm.
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