The speed limit will be “up” for debate again next week in the Iowa House. Previous attempts to raise Interstate highway speeds to 70 miles an hour have failed, but one who isn’t giving up is House Speaker Christopher Rants. Rants says “Iowans are proving on a daily basis that they want to drive 70 miles an hour.” In an effort to broaden support for higher speed limits, the house added higher fines for speeding. Rants says he not only agrees, he won’t raise one without the other. If we’re not going to “catch the speed limit up to what Iowans want it to be,” he says, we shouldn’t raise fines for speeding. Rants says we’re not going to raise fines on speeders if we’re not going to “modernize” the speed limit. Republican Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says that could be the incentive needed to pass the bill in the Senate. Earlier this year the Senate transportation committee defeated a broader speed-limit bill, but Lamberti says an interstate-only bill may have a better chance. So the house version is to be debated by a committee on Monday, then by the full House next Thursday. Lamberti says the more stuff they put into the bill, like four-lane divided highways, raising speed limits to 70 or 75…the harder it’ll be to pass. He notes “This seems tob e about as bare-bones a speed limit as you can get.” Republican House Majority Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says the bill shouldn’t have much impact because Iowans already are driving that fast. Gipp says Missouri’s 70, Iowa’s 65 and Minnesota’s 70 but says people who’ve studied it say people don’t change their speeds when they drive across the state lines. He says people already know what speed they’re comfortable with and there’s no reason to assume people will go faster if the speed limit’s increased. The bill directs money from the higher fines to go toward new patrol cars and county clerk-of-court offices. They’re now under a series of furloughs ordered because of inadequate funding for the state court system.
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