PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 3, SAFE, ACCOUNTABLE, FLEXIBLE, EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION EQUITY ACT: A LEGACY FOR USERS -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 06, 2005)
HON. BRAD SHERMAN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, July 29, 2005
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman YOUNG and Ranking Member OBERSTAR for their leadership in bringing SAFETEA -LU to the floor. It is an important bill that will help ease congestion throughout the country.
In particular, I applaud their efforts regarding hybrid vehicles in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. Allowing hybrids in HOV lanes will increase demand for the vehicles, improve air quality, and over time reduce our reliance on foreign oil sources.
Section 166 of SAFETEA-LU allows vehicles meeting certain fuel efficiency and emissions standards to use HOV lanes. The bill, specifically section 166(b)(5)(B )(i), is written to allow states to establish a program that addresses the selection of vehicles under the HOV provision. As long as states meet the minimum standards set out in the bill, they can adjust which vehicles will be authorized to use HOV lanes.
This intentional flexibility will allow California to implement a state law letting hybrid vehicles that get more than 45 miles per gallon in highway driving and meet California emission standards to ride in HOV lanes.
The bill also allows states t o choose which HOV lanes will be eligible for use by these vehicles. I call on California to study the issue carefully, so that only HOV lanes that can handle the increase in traffic be eligible for hybrid vehicles.
Again, I thank the chairman and ranking member for their leadership.