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Bill to increase Virginia speeds to 70 mph moves to governor
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 00:00

A bill to allow all vehicles to travel faster along some highways throughout Virginia has completed its trek through the legislature.

The Virginia Senate voted 30-10 Tuesday, Feb. 16, to advance a bill to Gov. Bob McDonnell that would increase the 65 mph speed limit to 70 mph for all vehicles on rural sections of interstates where engineers deemed it safe. The change would also apply to other multilane, divided, limited-access highways and high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

House lawmakers have already endorsed the measure—HB856—on a 71-26 vote.

The pursuit of higher speeds has the backing of McDonnell. He pledged during his run for governor to pursue faster travel on rural stretches of highway statewide. During his recent State of the Commonwealth Address, he reiterated his desire to see 70 mph speeds implemented on stretches of I- 95, I-64, I-77 and I-81. McDonnell pointed out that 32 states already have 70 mph speed limits, and 13 states have speeds set at 75 mph.

McDonnell has said that the modest increase in the speed limit not only will be safe for travelers to arrive at their destinations in a timelier manner, but will also benefit transportation.

“This is an important early step towards our common goal of improving transportation in the Commonwealth,”McDonnell said in a statement.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member John Taylor of Cross Junction, VA, said a change to 70 mph makes sense because traffic is already traveling at that speed.

“You have to be realistic with speed limits, and the interstate highway system at 70 mph is absolutely not out of line whatsoever,” Taylor told Land Line.

Delegate Bill Carrico, R-Galax, shares the same view. As the bill’s House sponsor, he pointed out the change would help enable all vehicles to drive along at speeds they are accustomed to traveling.

“This is a common-sense reform that will make sure highway traffic moves at a more uniform speed on Virginia’s highways,” Carrico said in a statement.

Taylor is glad to see that Virginia lawmakers have decided to keep all vehicles at the same speed. He referred to the tireless efforts by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to have uniform speeds in all states.

“OOIDA has fought for years against split speed limits. It’s a proven fact that having differential speed limits for cars and trucks is detrimental to safety,” he said.

Once the bill is signed into law, it will take effect July 1.

Land Line Magazine, 2/17/2010