The speed limit would bump up to 70 on Iowa’s Interstates if a bill that cleared the House Transportation Committee today becomes law. Bill backers say the average speed on Iowa Interstates is already a shade over 70, despite the posted 65 mile an hour limit. Republican Representative Royd Chambers of Sheldon says 70 is a safe speed on the Interstate. He says 89-percent of motorists on the interstates go faster than 65 miles per hour.Chambers says while there’s been an increase in the volume of vehicles traveling on the interstates, the number of traffic deaths has declined by 30 percent in the past 10 years.Chambers says people are obviously driving faster, yet the fatality rates are not increasing.Chambers says Iowa and Oregon are the only states west of the Mississippi that have the lower, 65-mile-an-hour limit. The speed limit bill passed on an 11 to nine vote, and there appears to be two trends at work. Younger legislators are slightly more inclined than their older colleagues to support the speedier limit. Western Iowans, too, are more inclined to vote “yes” on a 70 mile an hour limit than eastern Iowans. Representative Polly Bukta (book’tuh), a democrat from Clinton, cited the traffic load on Interstate-80 from Des Moines to the Illinois border. Bukta says cars and trucks on the I-80 corridor are already driving at 80 miles an hour and above. Bukta worries the higher 70-mile-per-hour limit would hike the average speed of traffic on the Interstate above 80. Representative Sandy Greiner, a republican from Keota ,predicts auto insurance rates would go up if the speed limit goes up.Governor Vilsack has said he would oppose raising the speed limit unless someone could prove auto insurance rates won’t rise when the posted speed limit changes. D-O-T officials say if the speed limit goes up, it’d cost about 45-thousand dollars to put an overlay on existing speed limit signs, and about 200-thousand for all new signs.
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