The road to lower auto emissions could mean more road work ahead – huh?

At one part in particular in the previous post, in essence, I asked if it is not more economical to expand California State Route (SR) 99 – which is currently being widened from four to six lanes at various spots between Kern County, located in the south San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento to the north, rather than to extend SR 65 farther north as far as to perhaps northern Madera County. For the most part, SR 65 sits parallel to and east of SR 99 between southern and northern Tulare County.

In case there is any uncertainty as to what this is about, the presumption is the SR 99 widening is being done to address traffic congestion. Yes, economic considerations are one thing. But what about the implications of congestion on air emissions? Doesn’t this count for anything? In that sense by extending SR 65 farther to the north it would seem that this would be by far the better of the two choices to pick.

Obviously, money is saved in expanding SR 99. Presumably, the traffic congestion issue is addressed too – presumably. However, by extending SR 65, not only would this result in the life of both thoroughfares being extended, the opportunity for even less congestion to occur would be created. At the same time, I can’t help but be reminded of Interstate 5 which, by the way, parallels SR 99 although it is located farther west; its construction completed well after the inauguration of SR 99. With an SR 65 extension, this would mean three parallel highways in the central San Joaquin Valley instead of two. Is it even needed, though? That’s the question.

The same question being asked by some regarding the building of the 800-mile statewide high-speed rail project.

At any rate, even with the redundancy, these roads can, at times, fill up with traffic and in some places and in some cases, to the point of saturation.

That there doesn’t appear to be consensus is there some common ground that can, at least, be found?

Hydrogen vehicle
Hydrogen vehicle

What’s that?! Zero-emissions vehicles or ZEVs, you say?

That people choose to drive, why not encourage far greater ZEV use? And in so doing, and presumably here as well, the trappings of that happy median being found are there. Plus, by virtue of this action, there is also the presumption that a means to enable air-emissions-reductions targets to be met sooner would exist.

I mean, what else is there automobile-improvement-wise that would be more apropos? Right off the bat I can’t think of any. But realistically speaking, how many people are going to purchase or lease ZEVs? I’m sure the market has grown over time, but will it grow to the point where a real difference will be made?

As this week is National Transportation Week in America, discussing the issues discussed this week at the Air Quality Matters Blog seems most fitting.

The conversation continues tomorrow, the discussion having to do with the latest research on diesel emissions with the main focus being on public health.

– Alan Kandel