By Rick Ritter

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A major push. Drivers on some Maryland highways could soon be going 70 miles-per-hour. But not everyone is sold.

Rick Ritter has both sides of the debate.

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The Senate passed the idea Thursday, marking a milestone for the bill. It’s something many pushed for over the years, but some believe it’s a deadly combo.

It’s an idea that’s now in the fast lane–clearing congestion and raising the minimum speed limit across Maryland.

“I think it’s in line with what a lot of other states are doing,” said Ron Foster.

The state Senate passed the bill Thursday, with the top speed potentially going to 70 miles-per-hour on some state highways–like I-695, I-95 and MD 295.

“I just think it’s the thing to do,” said Sen. George Edwards, District 1.

Sen. Edwards is in the driver’s seat as the bill’s sponsor, which would give State Highway Administration the power to decide which areas should see an increase.

“This is not a mandatory bill. All it says is that State Highway can evaluate,” said Sen. Edwards.

Many argue most highways are built to handle vehicles going 70 mph. But it’s no surprise that plenty of drivers already go above the limit, leading some to believe that an increase in max speed will only put more lives at risk.

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“Speed kills, and that’s what bothers me,” said Sen. James Brochin, 42nd District.

Sen. Brochin says it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

“Most accidents occur, studies have shown, because people are going too fast and they lose control of their car,” he said.

Like both senators, drivers are split.

“Nowadays, everyone definitely could use the extra speed, especially on the highway,” said Valerie Gunson.

“You raise it to 70, people are going to go 80,” said Connie Rudd.

But even if it passes, State Highway Administration has final say.

State Highway Administration would conduct studies to determine which areas should see a higher limit. SHA has said in the past safety is their top priority.

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If passed by the House, Maryland would join 22 other states in setting a 70 mph maximum speed.

Rick Ritter