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Kentucky May Increase Speed Limit on Selected Rural Interstates

March 21, 2007

FRANKFORT, Ky. --– Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has signed a bill that, after completion of an engineering safety study, permits a speed-limit increase on rural sections of interstates and parkways. Following the safety study, an increase in speed limits would be at the discretion of the secretary of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. "The time has come to increase the speed limit on Kentucky’s interstates and parkways," Fletcher said. "Data from other states and the conditions for implementation in this legislation give me confidence that 70 miles per hour will not mean a loss of highway safety. In every instance, all due attention will be given to highway safety." The bill (SB 83) was sponsored by Sen. Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "If you drive I-65 from Gary, Ind., to Mobile, Ala., the only time you find a speed limit less than 70 is when you're traveling through Kentucky," Guthrie said. "We've studied this plan carefully. There is no evidence in the data from other states that increasing the speed limit to 70 resulted in a corresponding increase in accidents on the interstates." "We don’t believe this bill will have a negative impact on highway safety," said Rep. Hubert Collins (D-Wittensville), chairman of the House Transportation Committee. "We're even confident that this legislation will contribute to better traffic flow on our interstates and parkways because travelers coming into Kentucky from adjoining states are already accustomed to the 70 mph speed limit." Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert stressed that this legislation does not mean interstate and parkway speed limits will automatically be increased in all rural areas. "The speed limit on any section of road will only be increased after engineering and traffic studies provide us with the assurance that an increase would be reasonable and safe," Nighbert said. More than 30 states have already increased interstate speed limits to 70 mph in certain areas.
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