In God We Trust license plate.

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create a specialty license plate with the motto “In God We Trust” garnered strong support during its introduction to a legislative committee Tuesday.

HB34 received favorable votes from all but one of the members of the House Transportation Committee. The proposed measure would authorize an “In God We Trust” special group license plate for programs that “support educational and community events that celebrate, teach or honor families, freedom, God and country.”

The idea for the plate came from 11-year-old Utah County resident Tate Christensen, who collects license plates with his father. After finding that several other states already had plates with the motto, Christensen wanted to get one in Utah.

If approved, the bill will require at least 500 applicants for the new plate to pay $43 in fees to get it produced. Currently, about a dozen other states have such a specialty plate available.

Meanwhile, a bill to restrict usage of high-occupancy lanes on Utah highways also moved out of the committee.

HB23 would authorize the Utah Department of Transportation to “limit the number of clean fuel vehicle decals issued to eligible applicants in an effort to meet the department's goals for operational management of the HOV lanes and comply with federal law or regulations.”

The proposal would stipulate that a vehicle is only eligible for a clean fuel vehicle permit and decal if it is registered in Utah.

UDOT officials say the volume of vehicles using the HOV lanes has grown to a point where the speed of traffic in those lanes has decreased significantly — adding to freeway gridlock. By limiting the amount of eligible vehicles to those with at least two occupants and Utah vehicles with clean fuel decals, motorists will be able to regain the advantage of the lanes' intended use, UDOT said.

A third measure also passed through the committee. HB272 would allow left turns under certain circumstances when a vehicle facing a steady red arrow signal could cautiously enter the intersection from a one-way street onto another one-way street.

Each measure must still be reviewed in the Senate before potentially being considered by the full Legislature.

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