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Congestion Pricing

O’Conner on Ending the Free Ride for Hybrids

3:11 PM PDT on May 21, 2008

It's no surprise that questions about congestion pricing dominated today's Online Chat with Metro Board Chair Pam O'Conner.  O'Conner handled the questions deftly, and in one case unwittingly answered a question currently being debated by the Los Angeles City Council.

From Today's Chat:

Will there be a provision for those driving Zero or Super-Low Emissionvehicles (electric or CNG) to continue to drive in the HOV lanes? Itwould be a shame to prioritize rich drivers in gas-guzzlers over thosewho have already invested in alternative energy. It would be criminalfor Los Angeles to discourage future alternative fuel development anddiscount cars already contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissionsin one fell swoop. Please don't make it all about the almighty dollar.Janet

Allowing hybrid, low emission or zero emission vehicles driven by solodrivers into the HOV (car pool) lanes was seen as an incentive forfolks to purchase such vehicles. So, people who are lucky enough toeasily buy a new car were provided with additional incentives. Now,there are waiting lists for hybrid vehicles!! The car pool lanes are atcapacity now and their purpose is to move higher occupancy vehicles. Onanother note, while it's important to move toward cleaner fuelvehicles, even the cleanest car requires energy to build all the spacesneeded to park it!

Basically, O'Conner is saying that people don't need an incentive beyond the high price and doing a better thing for the environment to buy a hybrid.  It's something the Council should remember while debating LA's parking policy.

In other news, O'Conner said that while the cost for carpoolers in the HOT Lanes is yet unknown, the plan is for vanpools to travel free of charge.

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