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5/5/2008
Speed Limits to Rise in Texas, Utah
Speed limits set to rise in Utah and Dallas, Texas.

Governor Huntsman
Speed limits are set to rise in the coming weeks in both Utah and Dallas, Texas. The Utah Department of Transportation has now been granted full legal authority to set the maximum speed limit on a test stretch of Interstate 15 according to recognized engineering safety standards, including a consideration of the actual speed at which the majority of traffic is moving in safety. As the road is already posted at 75 MPH, this means the agency could either choose to join Texas in posting an 80 MPH speed limit or become the nation's fastest road by setting an 85 MPH limit. Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) signed the legislation authorizing the speed limit increase on March 18.

In Dallas, the North Texas Tollway Authority plans to increase the maximum speed limit on large stretches of the Bush Turnpike and Dallas North Tollway from 60 to 70 MPH. A series of investigative reports by WFAA-TV over the past six months had revealed that the authority violated state laws requiring that speed limits be set according to recognized engineering safety standards. The authority never conducted any such studies.

The artificially low speed limits turned the 22.5 miles of toll road into a bonanza for the cities in their path, including Dallas, Frisco, Garland, Irving and Plano. With just four miles of toll road under its jurisdiction, Irving police issued $375,000 worth of tickets in a year. Garland with only two miles of road generated $400,000 in revenue, WFAA reported.

"I don't believe the speed limits have, in any way, set a traffic trap for motorists," NTTA spokesman Sherita Coffelt told WFAA.



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