The swirling force of Texas politics

Lawmaker Proposes Raising Highway Speed Limit

Legislator wants to raise 70 mph limit to 75 mph

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would raise the speed limit on highways outside cities from 70 mph to 75 mph.

    Rep. Gary Elkinds, R-Houston, is pushing the higher speed limit, which would also eliminate lower limits at night.

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    The bill is being considered by the House Transportation Committee.

    If the legislation passes, the new 75 mph limit would be phased in over the next several years.

    The original bill called for the change to take effect immediately, but with more than 15,000 speed limit signs in Texas and a huge budget deficit, Elkinds decided to allow highway engineers to implement the changes on their own timetable.

    If the bill passes, the lower limit at night would no longer be enforced starting in September, said Debra Clonts, Elkinds' chief of staff..

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    The speed limit would change only on stretches of highways that the Department of Transportation determines are safe.

    "Some roads may not be appropriate for 75 mph," Clonts said.

    Texas is the only state that has separate speed limits for day and night. At a committee hearing, nobody could explain why a lower speed limit is needed after dark, Clonts said.

    "We need to get into the present," she said.