California may end up removing all of the caps on plug-in hybrid access to carpool lanes (currently allotted via green HOV solo-access stickers) until the year 2019 — if all of the amendments to current laws implied by a recent governor’s budget trailer bill are implemented, that is.
The amendments in question would also extend the unlimited access currently granted to all-electric vehicles (EVs) through “white stickers” until 2025.
The current green sticker program for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) was originally capped at 40,000 stickers; this number has been increased 3 times to date, and now stands at 85,000 stickers. All of which have been allotted as of December 2015.
Hybrid Cars provides more info:
As they contemplate issues before a June 15 budget deadline, if California actually permits unbridled HOV lane access for PHEVs through January 1, 2019 and six-and-a-half extra years to October 1, 2025 for EVs, this would mean many more plug-in cars than originally contemplated.
Whether these new ceilings are adopted or — as some close to the issues have said is more likely — a deal is whittled down in committee between divided interests, remains to be seen. Behind the scenes, automakers including General Motors, BMW, Toyota, and Ford are pitching their positions alongside advocates, legislators and Governor Jerry Brown himself.
…What needs to happen first is one or more legislators must sponsor one or more bills. Governor Brown’s trailer bill sets the tone and legislation could mirror or amend the provisions for the HOV perk. A proposed house or senate bill then could be hashed out in committee, and before anything is made law, it must be approved by the state legislature and senate, then signed by the governor.
While the current green sticker program is currently maxed out, the Department of Motor Vehicles there is still taking new applications — with the assumption being that the program will be extended, so you might as well get in line.
Worth noting here is that, under the initial governor’s trailer bill, Caltrans would be expected to do a carpool lane “traffic degradation” study by December 2017 — in order to gauge the effect of the approach.