Thursday, April 07, 2011

Texas accelerates toward 85 m.p.h. speed limit

UPDATE, April 16: Texas highway officials could raise the speed limit to 75 miles per hour on divided, non-interstate highways in rural areas, under a bill passed by the state House, Terrence Stutz reports for the Dallas Morning News.

The Texas House has approved a bill that would increase the speed limit to 85 miles per hour on some stretches of road. The measure was part of a larger transportation bill that passed Wednesday on a voice vote. "It would authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on designated lanes or entire stretches of roadway after doing engineering and traffic studies," The Associated Press reports. Texas and several other states with long, rural stretches of interstate highways have 80 m.p.h. limits, but none post 85.

The bill is opposed by some auto insurers, who cite safety concerns. But Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, who introduced the bill, said, "They have high-speed roadways in Europe, and there could be some merit in having some of those highways in Texas." (Read more) Kolkhorst is from Brenham, population just over 12,000, about midway between Austin and Houston on US 290. Her trip to the capital takes one hour and 38 minutes, according to Mapquest (click on map for larger version):

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