commission Wednesday approved a recommendation to suspend the
55 mph speed limit on Houston-area highways. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the Texas Transportation Commission must
still approve the change before the signs can start coming down.
previously could drive 70 mph on freeways before the 55-mph limit
took affect in the eight-county Houston-Galveston region, it will
now be 65; where the posted speed was 65, it will now be 60. This
change would apply to all vehicles.
limit was lowered to 55 mph in May to help bring the region into
compliance with federal air quality standards by 2007. But after
the lower speeds were written into the plan to clean up the region's
air, the Environmental Protection Agency released data showing
that vehicles traveling 55 mph did not significantly reduce smog-producing
nitrogen oxide emissions. At the urging of state and local officials,
the EPA in June approved a recommendation to roll back the 55-mph
week, the EPA posted both proposed changes in the Federal Register,
which opens the issue up to public comment for 30 days. Approval
could come soon after.