When you pulled up to a gas pump this week, did you pay the State of Nevada any less in gas taxes than anyone else?
When you bought your car, did you get any discount on the sales tax you paid?
When you bellied up to a slot machine at a locals casino, was the money you lost subject to a lower gaming tax rate than the person next to you?
Did you get a discount on your vehicle registration fees at the DMV?
Then what makes you are a less privileged citizen when you are driving your car by yourself on US 95 than someone who has more than one person and is allowed to drive in a "special" lane?
Some years ago, NDOT slipped a provision in into the Nevada Revised Statutes which allowed them to institute a fine for driving in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes with only one person in a car. At the time, we had no such lanes in the state.
A check with several legislators turns up an interesting fact.
None of them remembers voting for it.
But they did.
And now, one of the nation’s worst highway departments has foisted an HOV lane on us for no particularly good reason except that they think they are smarter than we are.
Now anybody who drives on US95 knows that accidents frequently occur on the innermost lane where the HOV lane is located. So it’s entirely possible that in its own perverse way, NDOT is actually discouraging the use of that "special" lane, but that would be giving their collective genius way too much credit.
They read about HOV lanes in some national road-building publication and accepted the conventional wisdom that car pooling must be a good thing. No matter how stupid seeing that empty lane to your left may seem when you are actually driving next to it.
The thought that someone who has paid what you have to pay to own and operate a motor vehicle in Nevada is going change their behavior so they can use a "special" lane ranks with the thoughts that more money buys more education and that you can’t arrest your way out of gang violence.
Yet, when the HOV lanes were opened some weeks ago, there was no media outrage.
In fact, what passed for local TV news breathlessly reported on the new lanes as if they are going to change the quality of our daily life for the better as opposed to the truth which is that the lanes are a pathetic attempt at social engineering.
The assumption is that drivers really don’t resent these sorts of social engineering because a) it’s good for us, and; b) there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.
Well, here’s a news flash.
If the Sierra Club can hold up the widening of the 95 by filing a ridicules lawsuit, perhaps it is not unreasonable to think that a moderately libertarian group of citizens might file an equal protection action against NDOT on the silly theory that if you pay the same taxes to build the road you should have the same privileges in using the road.
You never know.
A federal judge in a flight of whimsy might see the merit to the claim.
After all, we have some federal judges who took cases dealing with how much a lethal injection at an execution HURT the guy we’re trying to kill.
HOV lanes are just another stupid idea that made California the state it is today.
If you want to live in California, move there and find out why most of us—except, perhaps, our senior Senator—would rather live here.