70mph max for Penn Pike passes House transport committee - HB2119
By Peter Samuel
A bill to allow the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to post 70mph speed limits (HB2119) has passed the House Transportation Committee and now goes to the full state House. Sponsored by Rep Joseph Preston (Dem Allegheny) the bill keeps maximum speeds on state freeways at 65mph.
The existing 65mph maximum on the Turnpike was set in 1995.
Hazardous areas can have lower speed limits posted.
Preston says both vehicles and the Turnpike have been improved in recent years, making higher speeds safer.
Rick Geist (Repub Altoona) chairman of the House transport committee and cosponsor of the bill says that people drive the speed they are comfortable at and doesn't expect it to affect actual speeds much.
He thinks the bill has wide support and will pass. In his committee only three legislators voted against it.
Geist also thinks the higher limit will attract patronage.
On the Ohio Turnpike speed limits were raised to 70mph at the beginning of April 2011. West Virginia Turnpike also has sections posted for 70mph.
But New York, New Jersey and Maryland have 65mph limits.
The Pennsylvania bill provides for the Turnpike Commission to study accident rates a year after the higher speed limit goes into effect.