On Monday, November 11, just a day before Veteran’s Day, Councilmember Vincent Gentile took to the steps of City Hall to announce that he was sponsoring a resolution to encourage Congress to pass a law allowing states and localities to grant disabled veterans access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
“As we pay tribute to our veterans, to the wounded, missing or fallen, and to their families, we must dedicate ourselves to serving them as well as they served us, not just today but every day, for there is no parade, no handshake, no special ceremony or warm embrace that is enough to truly honor that service,” Gentile said. “Instead, we, as a city and as a nation, must commit every day to serving our veterans as well as they have served us, which is why earlier today I called upon the United States Congress to pass, and the President to sign, legislation allowing all states and localities to grant disabled veterans access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.”
In addition, Gentile also organized a “Disabled Veterans HOV Lane Access Action Plan” to get constituents, veterans and advocacy groups to urge U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer as well as Congressmember Michael Grimm to support for giving disabled veterans HOV lane access even when alone in their vehicles
“I did everything in my power to get disabled veterans access to HOV express lanes so I could give something back and make the lives of our disabled veterans just a little bit easier,” Gentile continued. “Access to services, especially much needed medical care at the VA hospital, should be as expedient as possible.”
According to Gentile, due to federal regulations, although New York City has the authority to enforce rules on HOV lanes, it risks funding cuts to roads if such a courtesy were extended. “As your representative, I found this wholly unconscionable, so in addition to my resolution, I have also developed an action plan for you to get involved so together we can put your lives in the fast lane,” he said.
The resolution was scheduled to be introduced in the New York City Council on Thursday, November 13.
Veteran Howard Dunn believes the plan would be invaluable, especially to wounded vets. “It sounds like a great idea,” he said. “I’m all for it. It would help them get faster to important places like the VA Hospital too.”
“For the men and women who sacrificed so much in order to protect our country, it should not be a struggle trying to get from point A to point B, and allowing disabled veterans to use HOV lanes would be a very simple courtesy to extend to these heroes,” added Gentile. “Indeed, it is the very least we can do.”