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E-M:/ Fwd: URGENT: SIGN ON by Monday 7/23 COB: Oppose Energy Bill Provision Allowing Hybrids/Alt Fuel Vehicles in HOV Lanes

Subject: URGENT: SIGN ON by Monday 7/23 COB: Oppose Energy Bill Provision Allowing
 Hybrids/Alt Fuel Vehicles in HOV Lanes
To: mreplogle@environmentaldefense.org
X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 5.0.3  March 21, 2000
From: Michael_Replogle@environmentaldefense.org
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:40:27 -0400
X-MIMETrack: Serialize by Router on Washington/EnvironmentalDefense(Release 5.0.3 |March
 21, 2000) at 07/23/2001 12:44:25 AM

What's Up:

The House is heading for markup on the Energy Bill this week. The bill
includes a proposal to open HOV lanes to hybrid and alternative fuel
vehicles driven by solo drivers. The exemption for hybrids/alt fuel
vehicles will do little to spur wider purchase and use of these vehicles
but will undermine HOV lanes, transit, carpooling, transportation equity,
and opportunities to convert HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes that
could finance more buses and vans to use express lanes. The Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction on this matter in what is a
Commerce Committee bill, so we're addressing these comments to the Chair
and Ranking members of the T&I committee.

What You Can Do:

Please let me know by no later than 4:30pm Monday 7/23 if you would like to
sign on to this letter. Feel free to pass it along to others who might be

Draft Letter:
                  Environmental Defense * Other Sign Ons
July 22, 2001

The Honorable Don Young                  The Honorable James Oberstar
United States House of Representatives        United States House of
Washington, DC 20515                     Washington, DC 20515

Regarding:     Oppose Energy Bill Provision to Allow Use of High Occupancy
Vehicle Lanes by
          Solo Drivers of Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Dear Representative:

We are writing to urge opposition to a provision of the Energy Bill that
would allow solo drivers to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes if they
are operating hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. This would impair the
operation of HOV lanes, lead to expansion of conventional highway capacity
at the expense of managed capacity that favors transit and carpooling, and
curb expansion of transit to boost access to jobs and public facilities for
those without cars.

We support increased use of efficient hybrid motor vehicle technology and
alternative fuels that can reduce air pollution and climate change
emissions. But giving such vehicles access to HOV lanes is the wrong way to
promote these technologies. As hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles come
into wider use, the proposed HOV exemption will increasingly degrade the
time advantage offered by HOV lanes and make HOV enforcement more
difficult, gradually converting these lanes into general purpose lanes.

Effective HOV lanes carry lots of buses and offer time advantage for high
occupancy vehicles, cutting pollution and congestion. But many HOV
facilities built in recent years operate without effective bus and van
services and provide only a small time saving and incentive for carpooling.
The proposed HOV lane exemption for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles
will do little to motivate increased purchase of such vehicles, but it will
undermine existing HOV lanes. It will reduce opportunities to convert
underutilized HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes that could
finance improved transit. Moreover, the hybrid and alternative fuels
exemption is likely to benefit mostly more affluent motorists and fleet
operators, who can afford the new $20-40,000 vehicles, while shutting out
those with older cars and those without cars.

In California and Texas, several HOV facilities have been converted into
HOT lanes. These allow solo drivers to pay an added fee to make use of
excess managed capacity in HOV lanes.  The revenue from these fees can be
an important source of funds to boost access to jobs in areas now unserved
or underserved by transit. In San Diego, $1.2 million a year is generated
from a HOT lane on I-15 with net revenues funding new bus services in the
same corridor where they are raised. This has boosted transit use and

HOT lanes with modern automated toll collection are open to all drivers.
Experience shows only small income differences between those who use HOT
lanes and those who use free lanes. The average California HOT lane user
spends less than $20 a month on HOT lane access fees, since most use the
system only on days when they face big time pressures.

We urge you to support effective initiatives that would boost the fuel
efficiency and reduce pollution from motor vehicles while expanding
transportation choices and improving transportation system operations and
equity. Oppose the HOV exemption for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles
in the Energy Bill.


Michael Replogle
Transportation Director
Environmental Defense
1875 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
fax: 202-234-6049

Other sign ons
(See attached file: Alt Fuel-Hybrids in HOV lanes ltr.doc)


Karen D. Kendrick-Hands, President
Transportation Riders United
1067 Devonshire Road
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
313.885.7588, fax 313.885.7883
Check out TRU's web page at http://www.marp.org/tru.htm
Try the Motranzit site, too - http://www.hometown.aol.com/motranzit
Also check out www.transitdetroit.freeservers.com &
If you don't ask the right questions, you will never get to the right answers . . .