Let’s develop a smart road instead

The ongoing debate regarding the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s proposed fixed rail system, a 19th-century idea, by design, will burden all California taxpayers in perpetuity. The governor’s office has already guaranteed operational subsides that will cost the California taxpayer dearly.

The now questionable federal support, the always litigious acquisition of rights of way, combined with unpredictable future ridership, add up to a colossal and costly boondoggle, and all before the first rail is laid.

I propose a public/private partnership combining the likes of Google, Apple, Tesla, etc., to redevelop Highway 99 into a high-speed smart road. The 2013 Dutch smart road experiments, with videos available on YouTube, demonstrate light- and temperature-sensitive paint design, and road surfaces that can power a moving electric vehicle while capturing airflow from passing vehicles to power lighting and signal systems.

Let’s revitalize Highway 99 utilizing existing solar and wind power, GPS, cell and unmanned aerial vehicle technologies to provide electric power, navigation, telnet communications and security. Coupled with the smart car that drives itself, a high-speed, hands-free travel solution is staring us in the face.

A Highway 99 California smart road project would be a long-term job creator, benefiting all the major California cities. The road exists, the technology exists, all that is required is the will. Let’s move forward with a 21st-century solution. This kind of innovation is California’s destiny. It’s time to think outside the box.

Jerry Coakley

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