Yesterday, AB 2949 by Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San José) was signed into law by Governor Newsom. The bill exempts vehicles registered to US military veterans (including disabled veterans and purple heart recipients) from paying tolls on toll bridges and toll highways in order to provide financial relief to those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their service to our nation.
Tolls can be incredibly cost-prohibitive throughout the Bay Area and Southern California, which can result in a significant economic impact on someone who must take a toll road. These barriers can be prohibitive for disabled veterans, who may find it more difficult to attain a job or seek ongoing medical care.
“The signing of this bill into law will be a tremendous help for disabled veterans and their families in California,” said Curtis Brunn, US Marine Corps Veteran and Fremont resident who proposed this bill idea to Assemblymember Lee.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly three in ten disabled veterans say their impairments prevented them from getting or keeping a job at some point in their working lives. In addition, those with the greatest degree of disability encountered the most obstacles in the workplace – with two-thirds who are 100% disabled saying their impairments prevented them from getting a job.
“While there’s never enough we can do to repay our veterans for what they’ve sacrificed for our country, this important measure will support our disabled veterans and their families who will no longer be burdened by toll costs in order to seek necessary treatment,” said Assemblymember Lee.
AB 2949 will provide financial relief to veterans who display one of the following license plates:
· Disabled veteran
· Pearl Harbor survivor
· Former Prisoner of War
· Congressional Medal of Honor
· Purple Heart Recipient
· Army Medal of Honor, Navy Medal of Honor, Air Force Medal of Honor, Army Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross
The bill is principally co-authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) and co-authored by Assemblymembers Phillip Chen (R-Brea), Steven Choi (R-Irvine), Laurie Davies (R-Laguna Niguel), Randy Voepel (R-Santee), and Senators Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana).