Hybrid Drivers Get Free Pass For Colo. HOV Lanes

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Denver (AP) More than 1,100 drivers of hybrid cars can now travel alone for free in Colorado's high-occupancy vehicle or HOV lanes.

The lanes normally require at least two passengers or a toll, paid with a transponder. The Colorado Department Of Transportation is giving out drive-fee decals to a maximum of 2,000 hybrid owners under a law passed in 2003.

So far applications from 1,121 hybrid drivers have been approved.

Drivers need to have both a decal and a transponder to participate.

The HOV lanes are on interstate 25, U.S. 36 and South Santa Fe Drive in the Denver area and on Colorado 82 near Aspen.

CDOT says it couldn't start the program until the federal government came up with a list of approved vehicles. That came in may 2007, but the state and federal rule-making process delayed implementation.