A Virginia law that would allow active duty military to use carpool-only lanes in Hampton Roads even when driving alone has hit a speed bump: the Federal Highway Administration has rejected the measure.
The Virginia General Assembly had passed a law (subsequently signed by Governor McDonnell) that would allow active-duty military members in uniform driving to and from a base or other facility to use the high occupancy vehicle lanes along I-264 and I-64 regardless of the number of passengers, if any. This legislative exemption applied during rush hour (6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday).
The bill was designed to reduce highway congestion and perhaps make better use of the sometimes underutilized carpool lanes. Because federal dollars were used to construct the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, however, “federal officials have authority over how they are used and whether to grant exceptions,” PilotOnline.com reports.
U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor and other lawmakers plan to push for legislation that would override the agency’s denial.
Some military motorists who assumed that the law officially went into effect have apparently been pulled over for using the HOV lane and ticketed with a $100 fine.