Pedal-to-metal will fill state’s budget woes?
Associated Press Writer
In a hurry? Cough up some bucks, and put the pedal to the metal.
At least that’s the idea of Eugene “Gino” DiSimone, a nonpartisan candidate for governor who thinks drivers would pay extra for the privilege to speed and, in doing so, help alleviate the state’s budget shortage.
DiSimone, one of seven candidates for governor on the Nov. 2 general election ballot, estimates the Silver State could rake in $1 billion a year or more with his speeding plan, and that’s just one of several not necessarily conventional proposals DiSimone thinks will help turn Nevada’s fortunes around.
“Instead of a diamond lane for carpools, it will be a speed lane,” said DiSimone, who calls his idea the “free limit plan.”
Here’s how he says it would work:
Any vehicles enrolled would have to pass an annual safety inspection. That, DiSimone said, would not only help local auto shops, but ensure speeders aren’t zooming down the highway in unsafe cars.
“At the time of inspection, the license plate and VIN number get uploaded into a database,” he said.
The cost? About $40, with $12 going to the state.
For another $8, drivers then would purchase transponders – to be made in Nevada – and installed on their dash.
Next, set up an online account.
Then, “If you’re driving along and say, ‘I have to get going, I’m in a hurry,’ all you do is dial into your account by cell phone,” DiSimone said.
For $25, charged to a credit card, you’re now allowed to speed, up to 90 mph in preapproved areas, for 24 hours.
“You’ll get a confirmation number,” he said. “A satellite burst will start your transponder.”
Officers who nab you with a speed gun will get the information from your transponder that you’ve paid ahead and are free to speed, he said.
He calculates Nevada could rake in more than $4 million if just 10 percent of Nevada’s 1.7 million drivers opt in on any given day. More could be had if the program were extended to commercial road traffic, he said.
DiSimone, 52, is an engineer who moved to Nevada eight years ago from California, isn’t running on just the speeding ticket alone. Some of his other ideas:
• Pay all state debt in gold or silver with coins minted by the state from minerals purchased at a discount from mining companies.
• No taxes for small businesses with gross receipts of $100,000 or less.
• Raise salaries of good teachers, get rid of poor ones; limit class sizes to 20 and require parental attendance one day a month.
• A person’s primary residence is “exempt” from seizure or sale under the state Constitution because of an inability to pay.
• Build the nation’s largest amateur sports training facility in Reno. He says construction would begin within 60 days of his inauguration.
• Use the Nevada National Guard to “apprehend, detain and extract all illegal aliens from Nevada,” and arrest anyone who aids illegals, “be it from employment, housing, hospitals, churches or any other means or process,” he says on his website. He says ridding the state of illegals would save the state money on medical care and education, and open up jobs.
• Demand proof of President Obama’s eligibility to be president. DiSimone argues Obama cannot be president because his father was a Kenyan citizen.
• Cut welfare for anyone “able” to work.
While DiSimone says his ideas have been well-received by residents he has spoken with, most opinion polls don’t even include him when surveying who voters might favor in November.
DiSimone says he’s received about $30,000 in campaign donations, but listed $11,000 on his last finance report – a small fraction of the millions raised by the gubernatorial front-runners, Democrat Rory Reid and Republican Brian Sandoval.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen was skeptical of DiSimone’s pay to speed plan.
“The problem is, they don’t know who they’re sharing the roadway with,” he said of would-be paying speedsters. An encounter with a stalled vehicle, animal or a careless driver could be disastrous.
“It’s just going to enhance their injuries or their death,” Allen said.
There’s problems with some of his other ideas, too – like constitutionality, said Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“Some of his ideas are novel and could actually be considered,” he said. “But they’ll be considered by the person who actually wins the election.”