Kentucky bill to increase speed limits dies in committee

| 4/20/2006

An effort to raise the speed limit on Kentucky’s rural interstates and parkways has died. The bill remained in the House Transportation Committee when the session ended this month, effectively killing it for the year.

The Senate had approved it in February.

First proposed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher, the bill sought to increase the speed limit for all vehicles to 70 mph – up from the current 65 mph.

The bill – SB103 – also would have allowed the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to raise the speed limit on other four-lane roads from 55 mph to 65 mph.

The effort to increase the 65 mph limit had received widespread support from state officials before stalling in the House.

Transportation Cabinet officials told lawmakers that they did not believe the higher limit would result in more dangerous highways. Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert said the 70 mph would be more realistic and enforceable.

Nighbert said he hasn’t seen any data showing a significant increase in wrecks and fatalities in the 31 states that have limits above 65 mph.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, also was on board. She said most people drive 70 anyway.

Supporters of increasing the speed limit will have to wait until January 2007 to revisit the issue.