Nevada's DiSimone proposes allowing speeding for a price

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Empty highway near Las VegasMany highways in Nevada are plumb-bob straight, flat, and very lightly traveled, highways where driving 75 mph makes you feel like an ant crawling across a Walmart parking lot toward the sugar aisle. Now gubernatorial candidate Eugene "Gino" DiSimone has proposed a plan to help solve the dire financial straits of the state and this driver's dilemma by allowing some drivers to pay for the privilege to drive much faster than the current speed limits.

The "Free Limit Plan" from DiSimone, a non-partisan, Tea Party candidate for the state's highest office, would work this way: A driver would first have his car inspected for safety. If it passed, he/she would then buy a special transponder, similar to the ones used on toll roads across the country. After setting up an account with the state, the driver could call in via the transponder to buy a day's worth of speeding rights, up to 90 mph, for $25.

DiSimone believes that this plan will raise between $1.3 and $3.8 billion.

Does this make economic sense for drivers? Suppose you were an attorney billing $300 an hour, and had to travel from Las Vegas to Reno. By car, this is a 452 mile trip (according to Google Maps), taking 7 hours and 50 minutes, at an average of approximately 60 mph. Nevada, like many western states, currently has a speed limit of 75 mph on interstate highways. If you could make this trip at 80 mph, you could cut the trip to around 6 hours, giving you almost two additional hours, or $600 of billable time, with a client. Sounds like a deal to me.

It could also be a windfall for Maserati and Ferrari dealerships.

On the other hand, if you were a gambling addict, it would give you two extra hours to lose your family fortune in those Reno casinos. That is not such a good idea.

This proposal is, of course, doomed to a fatal head-on collision with the issue of highway safety. Nonetheless, at some points out on the lonely roads of Nevada, I too have fantasized about putting my foot to the floorboard, and would have paid $25 for the privilege. It's a long, long way from anyplace to anyplace else in the American Southwest.
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