New details on proposal to increase Wisconsin highway speeds - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New details on proposal to increase Wisconsin highway speeds


A proposal to raise the speed limit in Wisconsin would only impact a few highways, according to a preliminary report released by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The report says only four major interstates and Highway 41 through the Fox Valley are likely to be affected.

The speed limits on Highways 10 and 29 through Central Wisconsin would not be changed.

A total of 37 other states across the nation have speed limits of at least 70 miles per hour on some parts of their roads. The state of Texas set its speed limit to 85 mph.

According to other recent reports, Wisconsin is now the only upper Midwestern state to have a speed limit of 65 miles per hour.

State leaders say the Department of Transportation began studying the idea of raising the speed limit on major highways years ago. What's new now is that lawmakers are willing to push for the change.

"They have preliminarily identified the interstate corridor through most of Wisconsin and Highway 41 to the Fox Valley, as candidates it would be natural to have the interstates speeds increased," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

Other assembly Republicans are pushing the proposal as well. They say it would save tourists and commuters with long drives a lot of time.

The major concern among state Democrats is safety.

"Wisconsin is quite different in our road system then some of our neighbors, if you look at Iowa they have many more open stretches, many fewer agricultural-crossings, but in Wisconsin I would really want us to look more closely at the potential long term impacts of high speed crashes," said State Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).

But the author of the bill to raise the speed limit says the five miles per hour change would have no impact on safety.

"If safety was an issue, and if this was making the roads less safe I wouldn't even be authoring the bill, more or less I wouldn't even put my name on a bill that would increase injuries or fatalities here in the state of Wisconsin," said State Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc).

According to the Department of Transportation's report, I-39, I-43, I-90 and I-94 would go to 70 miles per hour under Tittl's bill.




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