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Speed limit bills on their way to Governor Snyder’s desk

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Some rural freeways and highways in Michigan might see a speed limit increase. That’s if Governor Rick Snyder signs a package of bills headed for his desk.

The legislation would raise the speed limit on certain roads to 75-miles per hour. Other roads could get an increase to 65-miles-per hour.

Republican Senator Tom Casperson is chair of the Senate Transportation committee. He said part of the method for deciding which roads will see an increase is figuring out how fast people are already driving on those roads.

“I know some people get confused with it,” he said. “They think that how can you say going faster is safer? It is when they talk about the flow of traffic and where they’re traveling. So that’s what we tried to center on.”

The roads will also go through a safety study performed in part by the Department of State Police before getting the green light to increase their speeds. Casperson said, “They shouldn’t just go arbitrarily, go change speed limits. We want to make sure the study backs up what we’re saying.”

Some of the bills only passed by a slim majority. Democratic Representative Marilyn Lane is the minority vice chair on a House committee that passed the legislation. She opposed the speed limit increase.

“I think our priorities are misplaced,” she said. “I think first and foremost we need to secure our roads and make sure our infrastructures are safe to travel, and once we’ve identified that … then I think we should start talking about how does our speed limits look in certain areas of the state.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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