The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to raise the maximum speed limit to 70 miles per hour on Wisconsin freeways. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said he was pleased that the concerns of Senate transportation committee chair, Senator Jerry Petrwoski (R-Marathon), were addressed in an amendment which will exempt highways with at-grade crossings from the higher speed. The Assembly, which passed the bill in March, will need to concur in that before Governor Scott Walker can sign the bill.
The state Department of Transportation will have the final say on which road segments will be deemed safe for the higher speeds. Petrowski said last week that the state’s main interstate highways might go to 70 mph by this summer.
Proponents of the measure argue the change is needed to bring Wisconsin in line with neighboring states, which have already adopted the higher limits. AAA Wisconsin has opposed the legislation, arguing that the higher speed can significantly reduce the time and distance it takes for large trucks to come to a stop in an emergency.