Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sen. Harper rewards American ingenuity; wins "Clean Air Champion" award

State Sen. Jack Harper’s legislation expanding the types of hybrid vehicles that can use carpool lanes moved through a Senate committee today.

“It is time that we encourage energy independence, while rewarding citizens who do not want to put an American out of a job,” Harper, R-Surprise, said.

Senate Bill 1041 allows hybrid vehicles with at least 45 percent fuel efficiency in combined fuel mileage to use High Occupancy Vehicle lanes with single occupancy. It also removes the requirement that ADOT receive approval from the federal government to allow hybrid vehicles the use of HOV lanes.

In a 2006 executive order, Gov. Janet Napolitano allowed eligibility for a limited number of foreign-made hybrid cars in the HOV lane, with single occupancy during the hours with heavy traffic.

Harper’s legislation allows American-made vehicles use of the HOV lane any time, regardless of occupancy level, without penalty.

In the past year, American manufacturers (particularly General Motors) have leaped ahead of Toyota and Honda in hybrid technology.

Also today, the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition, Inc. recognized Harper with the “Clean Air Champion” award for his involvement at stakeholder meetings and for giving the Legislature a perspective on government involvement in clean fuels.

State Rep. Tom Boone also received the award for his lifetime advocacy of clean fuel use.

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