Michigan Senate looks at raising speed limits

michigan-speedsThe Michigan Senate discussed raising posted speeds on some state roadways for trucks and other motorists recently.

Michigan now permits most motorists to drive 70 mph on certain highways and trucks to drive 60 mph. House Bill 4423, would allow motorists to drive 75 mph on certain roadways, and trucks to drive 10 mph below the posted speed limit for other motorists.

The Senate looked at the fiscal impact of the bill on Michigan Department of Transportation funds. The bill would not create new revenue, and costs could be incurred for such things as adjusting signage and infrastructure.

Design and infrastructure changes to roadways to accommodate higher speeds can cost several million dollars per mile, according to a Senate staff fiscal analyst.

HB 4423 could require changing speed signage on about 600 miles of rural limited access freeway and 900 miles of trunkline highways. According to the Senate’s fiscal analysis in September, this could potentially cost approximately $494,000.

The bill is currently in committee.

Walter Heinritzi, executive director for Michigan Trucking Association, said his organization’s view on the bill is in align with the American Trucking Associations‘ position on truck speed limits, which supports a 65 mph speed limit for trucks.

“We support as small as a speed differential as we can possibly have between trucks and cars,” Heinritzi said.