🐱 Kitty Queen🐱
- Sep 20, 2018
- Right... Behind... You...
- SL Rez
- Joined SLU
- October 2009
It turns out the story gets grimmer. Not only have all highway safety improvements for the 99 been canceled, another ongoing highway safety improvement project has been canceled: The widening of State Route 46.Well, I'm conflicted. I understand we need to act now to substantially reduce our CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. But it's just not something that can be done abruptly. First, our infrastructure just doesn't support it, and second, it's going to drive a lot of people away from even trying.
A couple of years ago, California's then-governor Brown enacted a gas tax increase, the purpose of which was to pay for fixing and improving the state's crumbling and over-stressed road and highway system. Some people protested, so the matter was put to a vote last year, which passed. Although it meant modest increases in our gas prices, already among the highest in the nation, I voted for it. I live in an area where the roads are in bad shape, and have been seeing improvements thanks to the already approved gas tax funds.
Running along the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley is State Route 99, a major north-south freeway connecting Los Angeles with Sacramento, and serves every major town in the valley. It carries heavy volumes of car and truck traffic - even more than Interstate 5, which runs along the western side of the valley. Substantial stretches of the 99 are only four lanes - two in each direction, which is woefully inadequate for the traffic it is carrying, and frequent accidents - many deadly - are the norm. California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has been widening the highway to six lanes little by little, in phases. Much of the funding for these improvements are coming from the gas tax increase.
Governor Gavin Newsom just signed an executive order that shifts much of this gas tax money away from roads and diverts it to trains and "other projects". Great. We need trains, and that would certainly help reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions if they get used. The problem is, much of the state is not well served by a train system. To build such a system would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take decades to complete. Meanwhile, people are dying on our highways. And, when it comes down to it, that's not the purpose for which California voters approved the tax.
So I guess the question is, just how quickly can we cut CO2 emissions without significantly disrupting vital services and jeopardizing public safety? Should we tax the hell out of private vehicle use to fund mass transportation projects? How much is too much?
With a stroke of his pen, California Governor Gavin Newsom has redirected part of the money you pay at the pump with the state’s gas tax to the railway system and other projects. Governor New…www.yourcentralvalley.com
Highway 46 is a major east-west highway connecting California's Central Valley to the central coast. It has been undergoing incremental widening projects moving eastward from Paso Robles because of the heavy traffic on that highway. Part of the highway stretching from north of Bakersfield to Paso Robles, near the "Y" (the junction between Highways 46 and 41, another major highway) nicknamed "Blood Alley", was slated for widening as part of the overall project. That has been canceled. The dubious nickname is well-earned: This stretch of highway sees the most fatal accidents of any roadway in the state - three times more than the next highest. It was on this highway where James Dean died.
Again, I'm all for well thought-out efforts to combat climate change. But I don't think it should come at the cost of public safety. Not like this.