Lawmakers reach deal on raising speed limit to 70 mph
MADISON — Wisconsin Republicans reached an agreement Tuesday to increase the speed limit to 70 mph on some stretches of interstates and highways in the state.
The deal is to be voted on by a Senate committee on Thursday, clearing the way for the bill to pass the Republican-controlled Legislature after it stalled last session. The Assembly approved the measure on a 76-22 vote last month.
Under the agreement, the state Department of Transportation would decide which roads could increase from 65 mph to 70 mph. The speed limit could not be raised on four-lane roadways with at-grade accesses. That means highways and freeways that don’t have entrance and exit ramps wouldn’t change.
Rep. Paul Tittl, a Manitowoc Republican, said Tuesday he reached the deal with Sen. Jerry Petrowski, a Marathon Republican and Sen. Devin LeMahieu, an Oostburg Republican.
Tittl said there were concerns about the safety of increasing speed limits on highways that didn’t have ramps, but with the amendment, the bill would permit the DOT to implement increased speeds on other highways and interstates that meet those requirements.
“It really didn’t change the bill we had at all,” Tittl said because the DOT likely wouldn’t consider increasing speeds on those highways.
And off the table, Tittl said, is an amendment that would have prevented the DOT from increasing speed limits on all state highways.
“We thought about that a little bit and got that squashed,” Tittl said of the proposal.
If passed in the Senate committee, the bill would move before the full Senate next week. It would then return to the Assembly for approval in its amended form before reaching the governor’s desk.
Tittl said though the bill is accelerating through the Capitol, drivers should not hit the gas until they see signs posted.