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Idaho lawmaker wants to increase highway and interstate speeds

Sen. Bart Davis of, Idaho Falls, is introducing a bill Tuesday that would raise speed limits on some interstates and highways.

The bill would allow speed limits on interstates to go up from 75 to 80 miles per hour and highways to go up from 65 to 70 miles per hour. Davis said under his bill trucks would travel 10 miles per hour less than the speed limit.

“I really do drive like an old man, this is not something I’m doing because I am getting tickets or other family members are getting tickets, I just noticed what was going on elsewhere in our state to the south,” said Davis.

Under Davis’ bill, the Idaho Transportation Department will decide what stretches of highways and interstates are fit to handle more speed.

“It would certainly impact the interstates of 86, 84 and I-15 which is an important corridor to those of eastern Idaho,” he said.

Davis said the ITD studies won’t cost the department but new speed limit signs could cost the state less than $20,000.

Some locals are divided on the issue. One man worries about drivers speeding even more.

“If you are going 90 miles per hour in the snow that causes more accidents, people need to slow down depending on the weather conditions,” said James Ross.

“Anytime you go up or down U.S. 20 or the interstate, if you are doing the speed limit you are getting passed by a majority of the vehicles, especially in the summertime,” said Larry Shores.

“There is nothing wrong with going 80 as long as the roads are clear and we’re safe,” said Pete Martinez.

Davis thinks the bill has a good chance of passing July 1, 2014. If passed it will be up to the ITD to decide what highways and interstates will see the increase. The ITD said study could take several months.

Davis said the last time speed limits were increased in Idaho was in the 1990s.

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