Oregon speed bill advances

| 6/19/2003

An Oregon Senate panel has approved a bill to raise the speed limit on the state’s major thoroughfares.

The measure, which passed the House in April, was approved by the Senate Committee on Transportation and Economic Development June 12. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

HB2501, sponsored by Rep. Randy Miller, R-West Linn, gives the Oregon Department of Transportation the option of increasing the speed limit of 55 mph for trucks and 65 mph for cars on the state’s freeways. The measure would allow new maximums of 65 mph for trucks and 70 mph for cars.

The bill would authorize ODOT to consult with other state and local police, transportation and highway officials and interest groups and to decide whether the speed limit for a particular stretch of freeway should be changed.

Miller has tried and failed several times in the past to introduce similar bills, but all were blocked by former Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski isn’t promising a veto, but he has some questions about the bill, the governor’s spokeswoman, Mary Ellen Glynn, recently told The Oregonian. His biggest concerns, she said, are the recent cutbacks in state police patrols, and how that might affect enforcement.

“We’ll see what happens in the Senate,” she said.