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10/14/2013
Pennsylvania proposal would set speeds at 70 mph
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is working on a bill that would authorize higher speed limits on the state’s interstate highways and the turnpike.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, announced on Friday, Oct. 11, that he is looking for co-sponsors to a bill that would raise the speed limit on affected highways from 65 mph to 70 mph.

Scarnati said that numerous states already authorize travel of at least 70 mph.

“Increasing Pennsylvania’s maximum speed limit on interstate highways and the Pennsylvania Turnpike will allow for better traffic flow and provide for greater efficiency in the delivery of goods throughout the commonwealth,” Scarnati said in a news release.

If approved, the Keystone State would join neighboring Ohio and West Virginia in authorizing 70 mph speeds for cars and large trucks. In all, 35 states permit cars to travel at least 70 mph. Large trucks have the same permission in 28 states.

Scarnati said his bill would require engineering and traffic studies to be done prior to changes in speed on any stretch of road. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Commission would be responsible for the studies.

In the nearly 20 years since Pennsylvania’s speed limit was set at 65 mph, he wrote in a memo to lawmakers that “since that time automobiles have not only become more fuel efficient, but technological advances have also led to better built vehicles which are far easier to handle and drive at increased speeds.”

A similar effort is underway at the Wisconsin statehouse. An Assembly panel voted earlier this month to advance a bill that would raise the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on rural four-lane highways.

Specifically, the Wisconsin bill would increase the speed limit for all vehicles on rural interstates, freeways and expressways. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation would be able to set lower speeds near cities.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.

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