SF Chronicle: California aims to get less affluent plug-in drivers into carpool lanes

September 20, 2018

By Rachel Swan

In 2020 the state will go even further to advance this social equity ideal, under a new law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last week. Legislators will extend the carpool lane perk to low-income people buying used cars with expired stickers. To qualify, the driver’s household income must be 80 percent of the state median, or lower.

California’s median household income in 2016 was $63,783, according to the U.S. census, and 80 percent of that is about $51,000.

The law’s author, Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, said he wanted to help a new class of super-commuters — teachers, janitors and others — who despair of finding affordable housing near their jobs.

“More zero-emission cars are available on the used market than ever, and this will be an important incentive for working families,” he wrote in an email.

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