Relieve traffic congestion

Fiona Ma responds to The Chronicle's coverage of AB2200, a bill she sponsored that would relieve traffic congestion.

  ·  San Francisco Chronicle   ·  Link to Article

I appreciate Andy Ross and Phil Matier and The Chronicle's coverage of AB2200 ("Carpool lane a bump in the road for S.F. Assemblywoman Ma," Aug. 22). However, there are a number of key facts that were left on the roadside.

1. I term out this December. After this week, I will not be commuting between Sacramento and San Francisco, and the bill would go into effect in 2013. Do the math.

2. According to a Legislative Analyst's Office report produced in 2000 and a UC Berkeley study from 2005, HOV lanes have been operating at two-thirds of their capacity and could actually increase overall congestion.

3. According to Caltrans' own website, HOV lanes are woefully underutilized. They even stopped keeping data after 2003 because the numbers were not showing a strong use of HOV lanes.

It makes little sense to have a carpool lane that requires three people in a car during both peak and non-peak hours when the rest of California requires two people in a vehicle during commute times. This underutilization of our carpool lanes is increasing congestion and environmental impacts.

AB2200 had numerous hearings in both houses and passed with bipartisan support. Government should be in the business of helping working people, not slowing them down.

In peace and friendship,

Fiona Ma, Assembly speaker pro tempore, Sacramento