WSDOT seeking comments for I-90 speed limit increase for cars only

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Monday, April 18, 2016

(Editor's note: SB 5228 and HB 1781 gives the Secretary of Transportation the authority to increase speeds to 75 mph and was passed last year. Comments are for a proposal to excercise that authority on a stretch of I-90. A previous version inaccurately stated that the bills were still in Congress).

Truckers driving through Washington State may face another speed limit increase for cars while the truck speed limit stays in place, increasing the differential to 15 mph. The Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking comments on the proposed speed limit change, giving drivers an opportunity to voice their opinions.

Senate Bill 5228 and House Bill 1781 allows the Secretary of Transportation to increase speed limits to 75 mph. Both bills were passed last year and signed into law. Currently, WSDOT is looking into exercising that authority on an approximately 100-mile stretch of I-90. The move will keep trucks at 60 mph while increasing the limit for cars to 75 mph.

Mike Matousek, director of state legislative affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, sent a letter to both the Senate and House Transportation Committees expressing disapproval of the proposed bills.

“OOIDA believes – and available data suggests – that our roadways are safer when all vehicles are permitted to travel at the same rate of speed,” Matousek said. “Differential speed limits create more interactions between cars and trucks, which can lead to unlawful or dangerous passing, aggressive driving, and ultimately an increase in the number and severity of accidents.”

If WSDOT decides to proceed with the speed limit change, I-90 from the town of George east to the western border of the Spokane County line will be affected.

WSDOT, the state Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington State Patrol have worked together to consider the speed limit request.

Two meetings will take place this week where information will be provided and public comments will be taken:

  • Tuesday, April 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. in Ritzville at Best Western Plus Bronco Inn located at 105 W. Galbreath Way;
  • Wednesday, April 20, at 11:30 a.m. in Moses Lake as a presentation to the Washington Transportation Commission at the Moses Lake Civic Center, Council Chambers, located at 401 S. Balsam St.

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