ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There is a new push in Annapolis to raise some state speed limits to 70 mph. It’s already cleared the House, and it’s headed to the Senate.
Some Maryland drivers can’t wait, but others want to put on the brakes.
Meghan McCorkell has the details on the proposal.
The bill being considered would give state highway officials the authority to raise the speed limit.
A sea of brake lights has many Maryland drivers seeing red. Now, a new proposal could cut congestion by raising the state’s maximum speed limit.
“I think it’s a great idea. Keep things moving along,” driver Scott Riley said.
“Maryland is the most congested state in the United States,” said Del. James Malone, (D) Baltimore & Howard County.
That’s why Malone is sponsoring a bill to raise the maximum speed from 65 to 70. The bill could potentially impact sections of I-70, 270, Interstate 97, 83 and 95.
Even if the General Assembly passes the law, it doesn’t mean that speed limits will automatically go up.
“It gives the authority to the State Highway Administration to look at all the roads,” said Malone.
In a statement to WJZ, the Maryland Department of Transportation says in part: “…even if the maximum speed limit were increased, MDOT would not commit to raising the speed limit on specific roadways without undergoing a comprehensive traffic engineering study and analysis to determine whether a higher speed limit were warranted.”
Some say drivers already exceed the limit.
“If they raise it to 70, everybody is going to go 80. Because it’s 65 now, they’re going to go 75,” said driver Jeannie Bergamaschi.
Leaders say speeds should be closely monitored.
“Make sure that it’s enforced accordingly if you do raise it so that we’re not compromising safety,” said Del. Keith Haynes, (D) Baltimore City.
State highway officials say safety is their top priority.
The bill unanimously passed the House on Thursday. Now it goes to the Senate.
Twenty-two other states already have a maximum 70 mph speed limit.
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