Could California get its own Version of the German Autobahn?
Last month, state Sen. John Moorlach offered an alternative to the proposed bullet train that could potentially help with getting from Northern California to Southern California, and vice versa, much faster. Sen. Moorlach proposed Senate Bill 319 (SB 319), which would allow California to create its own version of the German Autobahn by adding two lanes, without speed limits, in each direction of the Interstate 5 and Highway 99. If passed, the project would be funded using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars from companies purchasing credits if they pollute. The current maximum speed limit in California is 70 miles per hour. Sen. Moorlach stated the following regarding his plan,
We are waiting decades for high speed rail to get finished. Why can’t we build 300 miles of four-lane concrete in five years at a fraction of the cost, so people aren’t backed up behind trucks to get to San Francisco on the 5? If they wish to use the autobahn lanes, we call it the high-speed road — they are going to get to their destination a little faster.
SB 319 could add lanes in the Interstate 5 that would span from the Grapevine, potentially around Lebec, in the south and run to Stockton or Sacramento in the north. Sen. Moorlach stated that a car traveling 100 mph could make the trip from Stockton to the Grapevine in about two and a half hours in the proposed lanes. SB 319 doesn’t include an estimated cost to build the high-speed road, but Sen. Moorlach believes it would cost around $3 billion in cap-and-trade money. In terms of safety, he cited a World Health Organization study that estimated road traffic deaths per 100,000 people in the United States at 12.4, while it is 4.1 in Germany. We will have to wait and see if the proposed legislation passes.