Friday, September 24, 2004

And It's STILL Bad Policy

So what if his Solar Initiative blacked out? So what if he sold out to many apparently-no-longer-special interest groups? Schwarzenegger signed the bill allowing hybrids' use of carpool lanes.

I've said it before (too tired to find the link), and I'll say it again, diamond lanes are for decreasing congestion - air quality improvements are a fortunate side-effect. Some say this carrot will encourage hybrid purchases. It won't. There are already waiting lists for the few that qualify. Several Hollywood stars made calls in support of the bill - like Larry David.

Debra Bowen said it best, however - "I know I'm going to sleep better at night knowing Leonardo DiCaprio won't be stuck in traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway." She was one of a few Dems to stay off the bill.

Here's the other thing - the bill is COMPLETELY USELESS unless the feds alter their laws. HOV lane occupancy rules are set by Congress and the awarding of much-needed federal highway funds is contingent on state compliance with HOV lane rules.

Congrats Sacramento! Once again you've done . . . Nothing! Which in this case is good, I guess, since the law is dumb.

There was one bill that was okay - one that ended the long standing tradition of allowing cars over 30 years old to avoid smog checks. When I was last in Sacramento, because I was handling trans policy, I met with both sides of this bill. The classic car people freaked out. Because they never learned to read, apparently. This law doesn't mean your classic 'vette or 55 Thunderbird are no longer exempt. They stay that way. It does mean, however, that in 2014, had by Mercury Marquis lived that long, it wouldn't have gotten away with polluting freely.

Few post-1975 cars are ever going to be "classic," right? And those things really are lil'refineries on wheels - pumping out 155 times the lung killing crap as younger vehicles.

Maybe if you take that 1977 Monte Carlo and dump a hybrid engine in it you wouldn't have to worry.

And you'll have plenty of time to appreciate the cleaner air as your trapped in the 5th lane of congestion that used to actually serve a purpose.

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