Councilman Gentile Fights To Give Disabled Vets Access To Carpool Lanes

Courtesy of CM Vincent Gentile.
Yesterday’s press conference. (Courtesy of Vincent Gentile.)

Councilman Vincent Gentile held a press conference yesterday on the steps of City Hall, urging Congress to pass a bill allowing states to open lanes reserved for HOVs – or high occupancy vehicles – to disabled veterans.

“The men and women who sacrificed so much in order to protect our country should not have to struggle when trying to get from point A to point B,” Gentile said in a statement. “Allowing disabled veterans to use our HOV lanes would be a very simple courtesy to extend to these undisputed heroes.”

Since disabled veterans require medical care, and veteran hospitals can be difficult to get to, Gentile argued that easier highway access is the least the state can do for them.

Unfortunately, the state doesn’t have the power to authorize this change. California tried to implement a similar privilege for its disabled vets and the federal government threatened to pull highway funds, Gentile told news outlets.

“We have to overcome the hurdle of the threatening of the loss of federal money if we try to do this for our veterans. Our resolution is the first step in taking the road to making sure that we can do this down the road for our veterans,” Gentile said. “So hopefully next year at this time we will be standing here talking about passing a bill that will change the rules.”

Gentile is calling on his constituents, veterans, and advocacy groups to contact Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Michael Grimm to voice their support of giving disabled veterans HOV lane access without funding cuts.

New York City currently has HOV lanes on four roadways: on the Manhattan Bridge, the Long Island Expressway, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, and the Manhattan-bound Queensboro Bridge.