Speed Limits in Maryland Could Raise to 70 MPH

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Maryland is considering allowing the Intercounty Connector to lift the speed limit to 70 mph, according to WTOP .

A bipartisan bill in the General Assembly proposes lifting the speed limit on interstate highways and expressways from 65 to 70 mph.

Here's the latest on the possibly changing speed limit in Maryland.

* The Gazette reports that Del. Aruna Miller, D-Dist. 15, of Darnestown and Del. Neil Parrott, R-Dist. 2B, of Hagerstown co-sponsored the bill, which would automatically boost the ICC speed to 70 mph if passed.

* According to Miller, there have been three complaints against the current limit, that "One, the posted speed limit is way too low. Two, the toll is way too high. And three, the enforcement is excessive," as reported in the Gazette.

* The Washington Post said that Montgomery County and western Maryland lawmakers have complained that they personally have spent hundreds of dollars monthly in traveling on the new toll road on their way to Annapolis.

* The Maryland Transportation Authority has studied whether it could raise the speed limit from 55 to 70 mph. But given the new bill, the point could be moot.

* Another bill from Sen. Jennie Forehand, D-Montgomery, would boost the ICC to 60 miles per hour.

* Forehand doesn't think the MDTA will allow the speed limit to go above 60, and that was her justification for introducing the emergency legislation. "If you put it up to 65 now, people are going to be driving at 75 and 80, and that might not be safe," she was quoted as saying by the Gazette.

* As noted by the State Highway Administration , speed limits can be set by law, but they can also be raised or limited based on traffic engineering studies.

* Factors considered in determining the speed limit include schools and pedestrian traffic, road construction, frequency of collisions, transitions from urban to rural areas, and atypical traffic characteristics due to land use.

* If Parrot and Miller's bill is passed, the legislation would go into effect in October, according to the Maryland General Assembly's legislative website . The next hearing on the bill, which currently has 23 co-sponsors, will be in the House Environmental Matters Committee on Feb. 5.

* The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will consider Forehand's bill on Feb. 7.

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Germantown, Md.

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