Statement by DOT
Commissioner John J. Haley, Jr.on HOV lanes
"A bill submitted by Congresswoman Marge Roukema and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen provides the Department with greater control over determining the public benefit of the HOV lanes on I-287 and whether the lanes should be eliminated. However, the Department would still be required to meet EPA requirements as a condition for eliminating the HOV lanes. There is no question that this impacts our ability to make a decision consistent with what is best for our state’s commuters.
We appreciate the efforts of concerned elected officials. This Department has had under way since this spring a study of the HOV lanes on I-287 and I-80. The Department intends to submit its I-287 study to the FHWA prior to the end of this year. As for I-80, the FHWA has ultimate authority over this corridor, and therefore our study of this HOV lane needs to be done in consultation with federal officials.
The Department has been consistent in its position that the authority to decide the future of HOV lanes should rest with the state rather than the federal government. We believe with the help of federal and state officials we are already moving in that direction.
One aspect of this entire issue that I feel has been so far overlooked is Governor Whitman’s decisive action to move forward on the State’s Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance contract. By showing that we are serious about meeting Clean Air requirements, we are in a better position to eliminate the current EPA-imposed restrictions. These restrictions hinder our ability to eliminate HOV lanes should the state determine they are not in the public interest.
We will continue to work with all interested parties to bring about a resolution of an issue so important to New Jersey motorists."