This California Senator wants to add special lanes with no speed limit on Interstate 5 and Highway 99.
This California State Senator wants to put the money earmarked for high-speed rail into something worthwhile to address the lack of high-speed travel across California and the rising total of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. According to Senate Bill 319 introduced by Senator John Moorlach, introduced during regular session of the California legislature earlier last week (Feb. 15, 2019) if passed, SB-319 would get the ball rolling on two additional lanes of traffic, both southbound and northbound, on Interstate 5 and Highway 99 meant specifically for high-speed traffic. In addition, these lanes would NOT have speed limits just like they do on the German Autobahn.
As you might already know, California Governor Gavin Newsom struck down an existing plan for high-speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco leaving in place plans to develop high-speed rail for large parts of the Central Valley. The original estimate, which has risen seemingly into astronomical numbers for the high-speed rail system, is around $77 Billion. So far, as mentioned in the bill above, California already has $12 Billion. That is a lot of money just sitting there.
An elected official’s job is to introduce legislation and to vote on said legislation as he sees fit. Senator John Moorlach of Orange County is introducing a solution to have high-speed travel from North to South in California using existing infrastructure, our freeway system.
As mentioned, these lanes of traffic would not just add more lanes for the sake of easing congestion. Traffic studies already show that adding more lanes does little to ease congestion. Instead, these lanes, in theory, should be traffic free with no speed limits in place. Cars, could theoretically, travel as fast as they’re capable of, with slower cars presumably in the right lanes and more capable cars cruising at faster speeds.
The legislation is not perfect, it’s not supposed to be, but, it does get the conversation started. Off the top of my head issues include making sure the average California driver is up to the task, making sure our roads can support such high-speeds over long distances, and working out the logistics of our highway system to implement these additional lanes.
With cars becoming more capable of protecting its driver’s thanks to autonomous systems aided by cameras and radar, a set of lanes dedicated to high-speed travel isn’t all that out of the realm of possibility.
Consider this GM sponsored film from 1956 which illustrates just that. One has to wonder if this senator got the idea for legislation from this piece of film. Nevertheless, the principle remains, a set of lanes for safe, high-speed travel.
Like all bills, this bill will have to go through committee where it will most likely be tabled for further study. From there, if it passes committee, it will have to be voted on in the California House and Senate before SB-319 heads to Gov. Newsom’s desk for approval.
SB-319 isn’t the pipe dream you’d think it’d be.
A California Autobahn? Why not!