The Texas Transportation
Commission voted Thursday to adopt a maximum speed limit of 55 mph throughout
the eight-county Houston metropolitan area. The so-called environmental speed
limit is intended to reduce concentrations of ground-level ozone in the air.
The pollutant is a chief cause of smog.
The 55-mph limit will
apply to Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria, Liberty, Chambers
and Waller counties. It is one of several controversial measures scheduled
for adoption in Houston as part of the state's plan for meeting federal
air quality standards by a 2007 deadline.
The new speed limit
will take effect as soon as signs are changed. The new signs are scheduled
to start popping up in late January and must be finished by May 1.