In a turn for the better, State Senator Bob Hasegawa (D – Renton) has chosen a new transportation cause: allowing commercial vehicles carrying wheelchairs to have access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes. The bill digest for Senate Bill 5018 states that the bill:
Authorizes the use of high occupancy vehicle lanes by private, for hire vehicles that have been specially manufactured, designed, or modified for the transportation of a person who is wheelchair-bound and has a physical or medical impairment.
The bill does not require that such vehicles be given access to HOV lanes. Rather, it authorizes the appropriate governing authorities to offer that access.
SB 5018 was pre-filed on December 30. The Senate Transportation Committee will have its first meeting of the 2017 regular session on January 11th. No bill hearings have been scheduled yet.
Committee Chair Curtis King (R – Yakima) was very supportive of Sen. Hasegawa’s unsuccessful bills to make Sound Transit pay the cost of parking permits for homeowners near light rail stations. Perhaps their friendship will put this simple little non-ideological bill on the fast track.