Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Will West Virginia's Neighbors Finally Join the 70 mph Club?

It's been over a decade since Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit and almost 9 years since West Virginia raised its rural interstate speed limit from 65 to 70, yet we remain an island surrounded by states that have yet to follow suit.

Maximum Daytime Car Speed Limits on Rural Interstates, 2005

Green=80 mph Yellow=75 mph Blue=70 mph Red=65 mph Black=60 mph

Recent events in Kentucky and Virginia--yes, Virginia!--give hope the Bluegrass State and Old Dominion might finally return to the speed limits in effect before 1974. In Kentucky, Gov. Ernie Fletcher has endorsed legislation to copy West Virginia's speed limits of 70 on interstates and 65 on other 4-lane highways. In Virginia, Senate Bill 53, which would raise the speed limit to 70 on I-85 (for now) just passed the Senate Transportation Committee on a 13-1 vote.

UPDATE: Jan. 18: The Virginia Senate passed SB 53 today on a 36-3 vote. The dissenters were senators Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, Linda Puller, D-Fairfax, and Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington. The seat of former Senator Bill Mims, R-Loudon, now a Deputy Attorney General, is vacant.