Speed limit bill for I-94 and I-29 fails in the Senate

Feb 15, 2017

The state Senate has rejected a bill to raise the speed limits on I-94 and I-29 to 80 miles an hour.

Before the vote was taken, the Senate approved amendments that would more than double the fines for speeding on highways posted for 55 or higher speeds. Under it, the base fine goes from $5 to $50, plus $10 for every mile per hour over the limit.

Sen. Bill Bowman (R-Bowman) proposed the higher fines, once the bill was heard in the Appropriations Committee.

"It's just a little bit of a deterrent to try to keep the speed limit under control, rather than whatever you want to drive," Bowman told the Senate. "I did it for the sake and lives of everyone that travels."

Sen. Jon Casper (R-Fargo) said the state Department of Transportation has said the average speed on the Interstates is already 83 miles an hour. So he said the Senate Transportation Committee recommended the bill be passed.

"W didn't think we were going to see a massive increase in the speeds people are driving," Casper said. "We thought they would continue driving the speeds which they have been, based on what's happened in other states where the limit was changed."

Sen. David Hogue (R-Minot) said he worries that this will lead to more of a stratification of drivers on the Interstates – the truckers, that will drive between 65 and 70, the less-skilled drivers, who will be close to the speed limit, and drivers who will push the limit.

"I just cannot agree with the notion that if we go from 75 to 80 that there won't be that bracket creep," Hogue said. "Those Mario Andretti demographics that want to go 90 will push it."

The bill failed on a 28 to 18 vote.