By: Andy Kulie
LANSING — Many roads in Michigan could see an increase in their speed limit if a set of bills makes its way to the governor’s desk.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the package Tuesday, sending it back to the House floor with some changes for consideration. The language of the first bill in the package would allow MDOT and the Michigan State Police to raise the speed limit on sections of rural limited access freeways to 75 miles per hour and the limit on trunk line highways to 60 miles per hour.
Committee member and U.P. Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) is opposed to these changes.
“The reason that I was opposed to these was, first of all, we have a lot of areas that need to be attended to for new asphalt. There’s just a lot of these areas that we need to be able to fix before we raise the speed limits,” Dianda said. “[The] second point was the fact that — especially in our area — sixty percent of the district in the seven counties is over sixty–five. I’m really concerned about raising the speed limit and having people traveling faster speeds when we’ve got a lot of our motoring public that are seniors driving sometimes ten miles below the posted speed limit now.”
Dianda also voiced concern about the potential for increased costs due to a possible uptick in accidents, and he said equipment inspections, particularly for tires, would be desirable if speeds were to increase.
In the current language of the bill, speed increases would require engineering and safety studies to support their feasibility. Some limits could be pushed up an additional five miles per hour if the studies call for it.