A proposal to allow the speed limit on Wisconsin highways to be raised as high as 70 miles an hour was the focus of a public hearing at the Capitol Tuesday. Under the proposal (AB-27) at the Capitol, Department of Transportation traffic safety engineers would decide whether to increase speed limits on state highways.
Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield) offered an amendment to the bill, allowing the DOT to determine whether there should be a restriction on commercial vehicles, keeping them at 65.
It’s a safety issue, Spiros said. “What my amendment does is basically just says DOT, you have the option to keep the speed at 65 for trucks or you can raise the speed to 70 for all vehicles. So, it just says may; it doesn’t say that you have to.”
Tom Rhatican is assistant deputy secretary at the state DOT. He spoke for informational purposes only. “With regard to Mr. Spiro’s amendment, I don’t have a copy of that, but if it is permissive — it’s not mandatory — I think that would be something that we would be more than happy to review.”
Rhatican also expressed concern about higher speeds in certain stretches of freeways and expressways, especially in congested areas and intersections.
Neighboring states have increased their maximum speeds to 70 mph, while Wisconsin’s top speed remains at 65.
The Assembly Committee on Transportation held a public hearing on the bill Tuesday afternoon. It is expected to vote on the measure next month.