MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 319 High Speed Road — February 19, 2019

It was one of those days where it was difficult to keep up with the media inquiries about my new bill, SB 319. It started last night with a couple of Facetime interviews with Sacramento area television news networks.

This bill has taken on a life of its own and there have been a flurry of media calls and camera crew visits, with requests for radio show interviews.

Why? Because SB 319 proposes to add four lanes to the 5 and 99 Freeways north of the Grapevine and allow the users to drive without being subject to a speed limit (see https://moorlach.cssrc.us/content/senate-bill-319-high-speed-road).

The world is going bonkers over this simple proposal. I’m even mentioned in MotorTrend, a magazine I used to read cover to cover in high school. I’ve arrived. But, the reporter did not read the bill correctly, as the 100 mph limit is current law, which my bill would eliminate for the four lanes. And, another critical detail, the lanes would be separated.

Since I’ve never encountered so much media attention on one of my bills, I misjudged this one. We finally issued a press release this afternoon. So, I’m sure tomorrow’s coverage will be national, too.

ABC 10 in Sacramento was my first interview and is the first piece below, with an accompanying newsletter posting, which is the second piece.

ABC 7 – Los Angeles is the third piece. KRON 4 is the fourth. KTLA 5 is the fifth. Automobile/MotorTrend is the sixth. East County Today, providing the bill’s language, is the seventh. ABC 30 Fresno is the eighth. And CBS 13 Sacramento is the ninth. And I’ll stop there, as I could provide a dozen more. You get the picture.

The deadline to submit bills is this Friday. So, there may be more excitement. But, it will be difficult to duplicate today’s fun.

California bill would remove speed limits for new lanes on I-5, HWY 99

The bill would add two new lanes to northbound and southbound I-5 and Highway 99 while also removing speed limits for those specific lanes.

Author: Eric Escalante, Ananda Rochita

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/sacramento/california-bill-would-remove-speed-limits-for-new-lanes-on-i-5-hwy-99/103-87cf9ebb-2d26-4672-be06-fb1073b5e507

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new California bill introduced by a Southern California senator would add additional lanes no maximum speed limit to north and southbound Interstate 5 and Highway 99.

The bill was introduced by state Senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County). As it is written, the bill would initiate a project for the Department of Transportation to construct two additional lanes on north and southbound I-5 and Highway 99.

“We didn’t see high speed rail moving along quickly,” said Moorlach. “Obviously that was affirmed at the State of the State address. We have a lot of open space between the north and southbound lanes and the number of areas where the 5 and 99, so why not allow cars to travel up and down the State of California at speeds that are manageable and controllable.”

Moorlach pointed to Germany’s Autobahn as an example. The Autobahn is a federally controlled access highway with no speed limits for some vehicles in areas that aren’t urbanized, under construction or accident prone.

According to some estimates, the average speed on the Autobahn is around 93 mph, with top speeds often reaching upwards to 125 mph in more rural areas.

“If the point is to move people and get them up and down the state, and we have the right of way available, why don’t we just start building lanes and utilizing the vehicles that we have now that’s why we’re proposing it,” Moorlach said.

However, these new traffic lanes would be different from the others in that they would not have speed limits.

According to the bill’s language, the intent is to provide California with a viable alternative to the high-speed rail system and reduce greenhouse gases.

As far as funding, money for the project would come from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The rationale being that traffic congestion from idling cars increases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and constructing those additional lanes along I-5 and HWY 99 would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Some people have brought up their concerns of safety. Moorlach says people will be more aware.

“You’re safer and more cognizant of what you’re doing and how fast you’re going and so it’s a different attitude on how to drive,” Moorlach said. “These lanes would hopefully be segregated so you don’t have slow people and trucks on these four dedicated lanes.”

The Daily Blend: No speed limits? California bill would make it so

Does this sound ridiculous? Maybe. But it works in Germany, and that’s what Moorlach is hoping people might realize. Here are the details.

Author: Kristopher Hooks

California bill would remove speed limits for new lanes on I-5, HWY 99 – If all goes according to Sen. John Moorlach’s (R-Orange County) plan, California will have some highways with no speed restrictions. Does this sound ridiculous? Maybe. But it works in Germany, and that’s what Moorlach is hoping people might realize. Here are the details: As it’s written, the bill make the state’s Department of Transportation to construct two additional lanes on north and southbound I-5 and Highway 99, all of which would have no speed limits in certain area. Moorlach pointed to Germany’s Autobahn, a federally controlled access highway with no speed limits for some vehicles in certain, less-urbanized areas. According to some estimates, the average speed on the Autobahn is around 93 mph, with top speeds often reaching upwards to 125 mph in more rural areas. This bill was just introduced last week, so it’s not clear how far it will actually make it. But Moorlach is hoping it could be a replacement for the currently stalled high-speed rail project. (ABC10)

TRAFFIC

No more speed limits: Bill seeks to eliminate speed limits for parts of 5 Freeway, Highway 99

https://abc7.com/traffic/bill-seeks-to-eliminate-speed-limits-for-parts-of-5-fwy-hwy-99/5145083/

LOS ANGELES (KABC) —
California roads can be pretty hectic. Imagine what it would be like to drive with no speed limit on parts of the 5 Freeway and Highway 99?

That’s what Orange County State Sen. John Moorlach is proposing.

The Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill proposing the construction of two additional northbound and southbound lanes to both highways, allowing drivers to go faster than the current speed limits. Speed limits would remain on the older lanes.

Moorlach’s bill says the intent is to provide an alternative to the “high speed rail system” while reducing greenhouse gases.

The bill must pass with majority votes in the State Senate.

California lawmaker proposes building new lanes on 2 major highways with no speed limit

By:

https://www.kron4.com/news/california/california-lawmaker-proposes-building-new-lanes-on-2-major-highways-with-no-speed-limit/1793290436

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A California lawmaker wants to build new lanes on two highways — with no speed limit.

Senator John Moorlach says it’s all in an effort to cut back on air pollution and greenhouse gases.

He says when you’re in traffic, your car is emitting gases that are bad for the environment.

Moorlach says he wants to see two lanes on each side of both I-5 and Highway 99 — that’s from Bakersfield to Stockton.

Although he doesn’t have a price tag yet, the senator says his plan is more realistic than a high-speed rail that’s still years away from being built.

“So why don’t we provide people with vehicles the opportunity just to drive at 100 miles an hour, get to San Francisco in a shorter period of time than a train would? We’ve already paid for the right of way, we don’t have to buy that. So now it’s just how much per mile is the concrete going to cost?”

If the bill passes, it would mean a new northbound and southbound lanes on both I-50 and State Route 99.

The other lanes on those highways would have a 65-mile-an-hour speed limit.

O.C. Lawmaker Proposes New Lanes on 5 Fwy With No Speed Limit as Alternative to High-Speed Rail

POSTED 9:11 AM, FEBRUARY 19, 2019, BY TRACY BLOOM, CHIP YOST AND ERIN MYERS,

HTTPS://KTLA.COM/2019/02/19/O-C-LAWMAKER-INTRODUCES-BILL-TO-BUILD-NEW-LANES-ON-5-FREEWAY-WITH-NO-SPEED-LIMIT/

A state lawmaker from Orange County recently introduced legislation to build additional lanes with no maximum speed limit on two California highways.

Republican State Sen. John Moorlach’s proposal calls for additional north and southbound lanes on stretches of Interstate 5 and State Route 99. The two highways run parallel to one another through the state’s Central Valley.

For the 5 Freeway, which runs through Orange and Los Angeles counties, Moorlach told KTLA in an interview Tuesday that he envisioned the new lanes beginning at the bottom of the Grapevine and going to the Stockton area – but possibly up to Sacramento, if possible.

“You’ve got a lot of open space between the north and southbound lanes,” Moorlach explained. “So why don’t we just go ahead and build four lanes, two north, two south … and then the drivers on those two lanes would be able to use any speed that they wish.”

Motorists using the special lanes — which would be segregated from the ones that currently comprise the interstate – would then be unobstructed by semi-trucks and trailers that frequent the road, he noted.

“People are already driving 80 mph on the freeway,” Moorlach said. “So why don’t we allow them to go a little faster?”

Moorlach told KTLA he came up with the idea in part to help ease traffic and reduce greenhouse gases, but also to provide an alternative to the state’s controversial high-speed rail, a portion of which is currently under construction in the Central Valley.

“The idea was, ‘Nothing’s moving,’” he said. “If this thing is going to take 10, 20 years, we could probably build lanes in a very short period, maybe 3 or 4 or 5 years.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently cast doubt on part of the project when he said during his State of the State address last Tuesday that there wasn’t “a path” for completing the section between Los Angeles and San Francisco. His office, however, said the governor is still committed to building it.

Newsom cited cost as a significant concern, as the latest estimates show the approximately 520-mile stretch of rail would cost about $77 billion, according to the Associated Press.

The price tag was something else Moorlach noted to be a major advantage of his plan versus the bullet train.

“You don’t have to buy the land, which has been one of the big expense components of high-speed rail, is all the eminent domain,” he explained.

Since the state already owns the land, all the cost of building the lanes would be related to construction.

And as far as safety goes, Moorloch said he has some evidence indicating support for his plan.

“We did some analysis, and the traffic incidents on the Audubon in Germany” – where there is no speed limit – “are lower than the freeways in California. So they’re actually safer,” he said.

In a news release, his office cited a World Health Organization study showing the estimated road traffic deaths per 100,000 people is lower in Germany than in the United States – 4.1 versus 12.4.

Since Senate Bill 319 is in its infancy, having just been introduced last Friday, Moorlach said he doesn’t expect any action to be taken on the bill anytime soon. The state senator indicated a possibly long process in getting approval, as the bill hasn’t even been assigned to a committee yet.

“If this state, and Sacramento, think it’s so important to allow people to … be transported between these two metropolitan areas, then maybe we ought to give them a sporting chance,” he said.

No Speed Limits? California Considering “Unlimited” Lanes on Two Highways

If passed, the lanes would be added to I-5 and California Route 99.

By: Erik Johnson

https://www.automobilemag.com/news/calinornia-speed-limit-unlimited-lanes/

https://www.motortrend.com/news/calinornia-unlimited-highway-lanes/

California state senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) has introduced a bill to that state’s legislature that would add lanes to both north- and southbound Interstate 5 and State Route 99 that would have no posted speed limit.

SB319 does not itself state the specific stretches of road where the lanes would be added, but local reports indicate the lanes would run from Stockton to Bakersfield, a distance of approximately 240 miles via I-5 or 230 miles via CA-99.

While some reports tout the lanes as unlimited, the bill would implement a functional limit of 100 mph, with a first violation for exceeding that speed resulting in a fine of $500, a second within three years a fine of $750, and a third within five years a fine of $1000 and the suspension of that driver’s license.

According to the bill, money for construction of the lanes would be drawn from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Moorlach doesn’t give an estimated cost for the project, but says the state already owns the right of way necessary for the lanes. The bill is being pitched as a way to cut idling in traffic and therefore reduce greenhouse gases, as well as a quicker and more easily implemented solution to easing gridlock than a long-distance high-speed rail line that was recently canceled.

Moorlach also defends his proposal as safer. “If you look at what’s happening in Germany, the freeway accidents on the autobahn are a lot less than what’s happening on our roads.” Neither the bill nor Moorlach have so far addressed driver training that may be necessary for drivers unaccustomed to traveling at such speeds; Germany’s more rigorous driver-education system makes acquiring a license more difficult and costly than is typical in the United States. Additionally, there is no detail as to whether there would be a minimum speed limit for the lanes or if they would be kept separate from other lanes where the speed limit would remain 65 mph. SB 319 also contains a “stay right except to pass” lane-discipline clause, however.

The highest posted speed limit in the United States is currently 85 mph, on a 41-mile section of State Highway 130 in Texas. Montana had no daytime speed limit until 1974, when the federal 55-mph limit was passed, and again from that law’s repeal in December 1995 until the enactment of a 75-mph limit in May 1999.

Senator Moorlach Introduces Bill That Would Eliminate Speed Limit on I-5, Highway 99

 

Last week, Senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) introduced Senate Bill 319 which could eliminate the speed limits on certain lanes on Interstate-5 and Highway 99.

The bill calls for construction of two additional northbound and southbound lanes on I-5 and Highway 99 and would prohibit the imposition of a maximum speed limit for those traffic lanes.

The bill calls for funds to be reallocated from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to the California Department of Transportation for the purpose of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases by constructing additional traffic lanes on Interstate Route 5 and State Route 99.

It is the intent of the Legislature to provide Californians with a viable alternative to the high-speed rail system project by providing them with access to high-speed, unabated transportation across the state. It is further the intent of the Legislature to decrease traffic congestion and thereby decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases caused by automobiles.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 319, as introduced, Moorlach. State highways: Interstate Route 5: State Route 99: speed limits.
(1) Existing law states that the Department of Transportation has full possession and control of the state highway system. Existing law prohibits a person from driving a vehicle upon a highway with a speed limit established pursuant to specified provisions at a speed greater than that speed limit. Existing law prohibits a person from driving a vehicle upon a state highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.
This bill would require the department to initiate a project to construct two additional traffic lanes on northbound and southbound Interstate Route 5 and State Route 99, and would prohibit the imposition of a maximum speed limit for those traffic lanes.
(2) The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 designates the State Air Resources Board as the state agency charged with monitoring and regulating sources of emissions of greenhouse gases. The act authorizes the state board to include the use of market-based compliance mechanisms. Existing law requires all moneys, except for fines and penalties, collected by the state board as part of a market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and to be available for appropriation by the Legislature. Existing law continuously appropriates 35% of the annual proceeds of the fund for transit, affordable housing, and sustainable communities programs and 25% of the annual proceeds of the fund for certain components of a specified high-speed rail project.
This bill would appropriate an unspecified amount from the fund to the department for the purpose of reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases by constructing additional traffic lanes on Interstate Route 5 and State Route 99.
Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 5.27.28 PM

New California bill could eliminate speed limit on I-5, Highway 99

A new bill proposed by a Southern California senator could eliminate the speed limit on lanes of Interstate-5 and Highway 99.

Senator John Moorlach (R-Orange County) introduced the bill Feb. 15. It proposes the construction of two additional northbound and southbound lanes to I-5 and Highway 99 and would allow drivers on those two lanes to drive faster than the current state speed limit of 65 miles-per-hour.

The new bill would also allocate funds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to the Department of Transportation to reduce greenhouse gases produced from the construction of the two additional lanes.

The bill must pass with majority votes in the State Senate.

Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 5.27.35 PM
California May Do Away With Speed Limits For Certain Lanes Of I-5 And Hwy. 99
 
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California may do away with speed limits for certain lanes on I-5 and Highway 99, in order to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Senator John Moorlach (R- Orange County) introduced SB 319 on Friday. If passes, it would require the Department of Transportation to built two additional traffic lanes on northbound and southbound Interstate 5 and State Route 99. Those new lanes would have no maximum speed limit. The other lanes of traffic would still ban drivers from going more than 65 miles per hour.

According to the bill language, traffic congestion causes vehicle to idle longer and that leads to more green gas emissions.

California did pass the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 which requires the State Air Resources Board to monitor and regulate the source of greenhouse gas emissions. As for the money used to operate the program, “Existing law requires all moneys, except for fines and penalties, collected by the state board as part of a market-based compliance mechanism to be deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and to be available for appropriation by the Legislature. Existing law continuously appropriates 35% of the annual proceeds of the fund for transit, affordable housing, and sustainable communities programs and 25% of the annual proceeds of the fund for certain components of a specified high-speed rail project.”

The High-Speed Rail is expected to be completed in 2033; however, Governor Gavin Newsom said in last week’s State of the State that the focus would initially be on a street of high-speed rail from Bakersfield to Merced. SB 319 aims to give drivers in California access to high-speed transportation in the absence of high-speed rail.

The cost of building two additional traffic lanes on I-5 and Hwy. 99 isn’t known yet.

 

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