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Michigan Speed Limit Increase Going Nowhere Fast

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Bills to allow speeds of up to 80 miles an hour on rural highways in Michigan has stalled in the state House. 

Supporters like state Representative Brad Jacobsen say they’ll regroup and try again soon. He says people are already traveling faster than the current 70 mile-an-hour limit. 

“We’re already going 75 miles an hour. We’ve got safer cars than we ever have. Doesn’t it makes sense? People drive the speed they feel safe on the road. Our roads are designed for 75 miles an hour.”

Jacobsen says roads would have to be re-built to qualify for the 80-mile-an-hour limit.  But opponents say a faster speed limit could lead to more traffic deaths.  That would include State Representative Marilyn Lane.  She says now is not the time to increase the speed limit. 

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Quote from State Rep. Marilyn Lane

“Hitting potholes is not a good thing. Hitting a pothole at 70 miles an hour is not good. Is hitting potholes at 80 miles an hour a better ideal? I think not.”

The legislation would not allow speed limits to be increased without traffic studies.  The speed limit on gravel roads in populated areas would be reduced to 45 miles an hour. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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