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75 mph speed limit for rural highways stalls

speed limit sign
Wikimedia Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A package of bills to allow speeds of up to 80 miles an hour on rural highways in Michigan has stalled in the state House. A key bill in the package came a few votes short, which stopped the rest of the bills because none can become law if they all aren’t passed.

Supporters like state Representative Brad Jacobsen say they’ll regroup and try again soon.

He says people are already traveling faster than the current 70 mile-an-hour limit.

“We’re already going 75 miles an hour,” he says. “We’ve got safer cars than we ever have. Doesn’t it makes sense? People drive the speed they feel safe on the road. Our roads are designed for 75 miles an hour.”

Although the bills allow for an 80-mile-an-hour limit, highways would have to be re-built to qualify for the 80-mile-an-hour limit, says Jacobsen. And no speed limit could be increased on a stretch of road without a traffic study.

But opponents like state Representative Marilyn Lane says now is not the time to increase the speed limit. She says a faster speed limit could lead to more traffic deaths.


“Hitting potholes is not a good thing. Hitting a pothole at 70 miles an hour is not good,” she says. “Is hitting potholes at 80 miles an hour a better ideal? I think not.”

House leaders say the legislation could be taken up again as soon as next week. The state Senate is also looking at proposals to increase speed limits.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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