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HOV Access Bill Cruising to Assembly

Sen. Leland Yee spoke Friday at the Tesla Motors dealership in Menlo Park to discuss his Senate Bill 286, which would allow clean vehicles to travel in HOV lanes.

On Thursday, the California Senate voted 34-0 to extend the "Green Sticker" program, allowing hybrid and other clean vehicles to access the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lanes---also known as carpool lanes.

Sen. Leland Yee, (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) spoke about SB 286 Friday morning at Tesla Motors in Menlo Park--a symbolic choice of locations given Tesla's recent splash into the world of low-emission vehicles.

Yee, who authored the bill and also created the Green Sticker program three years ago, says that not only does the bill show the state’s commitment to those who use and will use clean vehicles, it is good for the low-emissions auto manufacturing industry as well.

"There is still work that needs to be done today to reduce our carbon footprint," said Yee.

"The Green Sticker program will keep California ahead of the curve."

The bill extends the program an additional three years, which would allow plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell cars to access the HOV lanes until 2018. It would also extend the “White Sticker” program that allows access for fully electric vehicles.

Speaking alongside Yee at the press conference were Jay Friedland of Plug-In-America, Mark Watkins of Clean Energy Fuels, and Jenny Bard of the American Lung Association. All praised the bill for its incentive to get more clean cars onto California’s roads.

Watch the PatchClip video that accompanies this story for comments by Yee and Friedland at today’s press conference.

The bill is expected to move onto the Assembly in the next two weeks. If signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would become law in January 2014.

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