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House puts the brakes on increasing speed limits on the Interstates


The House has put the brakes on a bill to raise the speed limits on the Interstate highways to 80 miles an hour.

The bill says the speeds would be raised if and when the Department of Transportation determines the interstates can support that speed. Another section of the bill would have set a minimum 40 miles per hour speed on those highways.

The bill was split into two sections -- one on the higher limit, one on the minimum.

Rep. Greg Westlind (R-Cando) argued against the higher speed limit, even though he admitted he sets his cruise control to 82 miles an hour on the Interstates.

"The irony is - the faster you go, the more fuel you burn, and the less likely you will survive a crash," Westlind said. "This just doesn't add up to me."

But Rep. Dan Ruby (R-Minot) countered that the DOT has been open to the idea, at least on stretches of the two Interstates.

"It's very doable," Ruby said. "There's areas of the two Interstates where there are no problems doing 8i0 mph."

Ruby said when South Dakota adopted 80-mph, the number of speeding tickets dropped. He said that's the way people were already driving.

That portion of the bill failed on a 56 to 38 vote. The second part failed as well.

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