California could introduce no-speed limit lanes on two local highways. The state is considering the construction of new lanes on Interstate 5 and State Route 99 that would not have speed limits.
The news comes from local CBS News affiliate CBS 13, which reported Monday that a new bill introduced in the state legislature by Republican state Sen. John M. W. Moorlach would require the department of transportation to build two additional lanes, north and southbound, on both highways. No speed limits would be present on the lanes, while the existing lanes would remain capped at 65 mph.
The bill's goal is to further reduce greenhouse gasses, not to simply give California drivers a chance to speed to their heart's content. The bill reasons that vehicles idling in traffic lead to increased emissions. If drivers can get where they need to go quicker, it could reduce emissions. When Road & Track asked Moorlach if he had evidence that the bill would reduce emissions, he said he was only going by an assumption. Motor Authority's sister site, Green Car Reports, also reached out to Moorlach's office, which said it is "still putting together its projections for the GHG (green-house gas) emissions reduction based on various studies, and that it does not expect vehicle traffic volume to rise."
Of course, cars traveling at high rates of speed and using full or close to full power would produce more emissions, so the logic seems flawed. In fact, according to the German Federal Environmental Agency, carbon dioxide emissions would fall by 9 percent if Germany would change its few unlimited speed areas to 75-mph speed zones. In California's case, simply opening more lanes to get traffic flowing would seem to fix the problem without the need for speed limit-free lanes.
The state has monitored greenhouse gas emissions since 2006 with the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act. The act calls on the state to not only monitor, but regulate the source of the emissions. Funds for the project would come from the act's fund that the state board currently collects.
Right now, 35 percent of the funds go to transit, affordable housing, and community projects. Another 25 percent has been earmarked for high-speed rail projects. However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently canceled one major high-speed rail project citing cost and the length of time it would take to complete.
So far, it's unclear how much it would cost to build the new lanes that channel Germany's Autobahn, but the idea seems far-fetched and likely to fail.