Saturday, September 17, 2016

California Lifts Limit on Green Clean Air HOV Decals

Per California State Bill 838, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 13, 2016, the limit on Green Clean Air Decals allowing qualifying single-occupancy vehicles to use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)-only lanes on California highways has been lifted. 

Previously, the green decals (issued to vehicle's satisfying California Air Resources Board's requirements for Transitional Zero-Emission Vehicles - primarily plug-in hybrid vehicles) were issued in finite batches. 40,000 decals were initially provisioned, and three subsequent state bills have issued extended the number of decals issued to a total of 85,000 as of June 2015.

Excerpted from SB-838:
Existing federal law, until September 30, 2019, authorizes a state to allow specified labeled low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles to use lanes designated for high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs). Existing federal law, until September 30, 2025, grants similar authority with respect to alternative fuel and electric vehicles.
Existing law authorizes the Department of Transportation to designate certain lanes for the exclusive use of HOVs, which lanes may also be used, until January 1, 2019, the expiration of a designated federal authorization relating to HOV facilities, or until the Secretary of State receives a specified notice, by certain low-emission, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles not carrying the requisite number of passengers otherwise required for the use of an HOV lane, if the vehicle displays a valid identifier issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Existing law authorizes the DMV to issue no more than 85,000 of those identifiers. A violation of provisions relating to HOV lane use by vehicles with those identifiers is a crime.
This bill would delete the maximum number of identifiers that the DMV is authorized to issue. The bill would extend the operation of the above provisions for super ultra-low emission vehicles and ultra-low emission vehicles, as defined, to January 1, 2019. However, with respect to vehicles that meet the state’s enhanced advanced technology partial zero-emission vehicle standard or transitional zero-emission vehicle standard, the provisions would be operative only until the earlier of January 1, 2019, the date of the federal authorization, or the receipt date of the notice by the Secretary of State. The bill would require the Department of Transportation to prepare and submit a report to the Legislature by December 1, 2017, on the degradation status of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the state highway system.
So green decals will again be issued, beginning with applicants who had already submitted paperwork and have been in a queue awaiting the possible issuance of additional decals. 

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