outcry over the new 55 mph speed limit on the Houston area's
freeways has state environmental regulators backpeddling on
their ambitious plan to eliminate smog by curbing leadfooted
drivers. Officials will hear all about it in a meeting Wednesday
On May 31,
the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission reversed its
stance on a recently-enacted plan intended to clean up the city's
pollution by slowing down traffic. An enormous show of negative
response from Texas motorists prompted the TNRCC to back off this
particular plan to comply with air standards and try to devise
something less annoying. The commission is now proposing that
70 mph be restored for cars and light trucks while continuing
to rein in heavy trucks at 55 mph, creating a 15 mph differential.
we certainly think its appropriate for officials to respond
to the unpopularity of the measure, the appropriate response
should not be to create hazardous driving conditions,"
says Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
out that 70 mph for cars and 55 mph for trucks creates a seriously
dangerous speed variance. The association urges Texas truckers
and those motorists placed at risk by the split speeds to contact
the TNRCC and the Department of Transportation immediately.
transportation and air quality planning manager for the Houston-Galveston
Area Council, said there were some safety concerns about a dual
speed limit, but that there were also inherent problems in imposing
an unpopular burden on local drivers. On Friday (May 31), the
Houston Chronicle quoted Clark, "I would say that measures
which have an effect on the travel behavior of people residing
here are generally more difficult to achieve compliance with."
must be adopted by the commissioners of the Texas conservation
commission, who are expected to take up the issue at their meeting
in Austin on Wednesday, June 5, the same day that kicks off
the period of public commentary. Carol Rawson, deputy director
of traffic operations at TxDOT, says eventually, whatever happens,
the proposals will go to the three DOT commissioners on the
Transportation Commission. Rawson says truckers are welcome
to contact these three commissioners with their views.
commissioners are Johnny Johnson, Robert Nichols and Ric Williams.
The address is 125 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701.
says they are also ready to accept written comments and the
following email address will be activated beginning June 5 to
receive comments regarding the proposed revisions to the Houston/Galveston
Area State Implementation Plan (SIP): email@example.com
regulators certainly should look at speed limits that recently
went into effect," says Spencer, "but should NOT resolve
this by turning metropolitan freeways into bumper car tracks.
Soendker, managing editor