A bill to allow individual handicapped drivers on Shirley Highway's car-pool lanes was killed in a House committee today after state highway officials argued it would be difficult to enforce.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) and Sen. Charles S. Waddell (D-Loudoun), had passed the Senate by a 24-to-14 vote over protests of those who said it would only lead to further exemptions under the state's four-person minimum for so-called "high-occupancy vehicle" lanes.
"The highway department was very much opposed because they felt it couldn't be handled from the point of view of enforcement," said House Roads Committee Chairman Del. Donald A. McGlothlin (D-Grundy). The bill would have exempted cars with handicapped or disabled veteran license plates from the car-pool requirement.
Although there is no definition of "high occupancy vehicle" in state law, current rules require four people in a car for the vehicle to qualify for car-pool lanes on heavily traveled I-395 in and out of Washington. The recently opened portion of I-66 also requires four people to a car on its commuter lanes, but that requirement is set by the federal government.
A Senate subcommittee will review another bill, introduced by Del. Kenneth Plum (D-Fairfax), that would give the Virginia Highway Department the flexibility to reduce the minimum to two people for certain stretches of road and at various times.
Arlington County Board Chairman Ellen Bozman urged the Senate Transportation Committee today to reject the bill, which she said could weaken the incentive for commuters to ride in car pools from Northern Virginia into Washington. "We support the retention of the four-person requirement as effective transportation policy," she said.
Plum and other Northern Virginians want to give the state the power to reduce the car-pool requirement in anticipation of a computerized monitoring system to be installed next year. Education Aid Restored
Yesterday it was the Senate's turn to pass a budget. Today, the House reciprocated with a version that fully restores provisions in public education that Democratic Gov. Charles S. Robb proposed cutting last month.
The House's budget vote was unanimous and all attempts to amend it on the floor were rejected. The House budget would put back all of the $22.7 million in aid to public schools that Robb wanted to cut, $7.8 million in higher education and $30 million for state employe salaries. The House would reduce proposed cuts for community health boards by $1.9 million while making new cuts in legislative accounts, the judiciary and the Department of Corrections.
An estimated $16.4 million would come from a bill accelerating the schedule for estimated tax payments; another $15.8 million will come from a special fund, lent by the state to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee almost 50 years ago.
That fund has been the subject of dispute between legislators and the administration, and today Secretary of Administration and Finance Wayne Anderson said Robb was unlikely to change his position on the ABC fund.
On the floor today the House rejected an amendment, supported by the Northern Virginia delegation, that would allow local governments to supplement the state-set salary paid to general registrars.
Language inserted into the budget last year kept Alexandria from hiring a new full-time registrar because state law had set the salary at $22,000--less than salaries paid to local assistant registrars.