By Tom Precious
ALBANY – New York State would join the fast lane with many of the wide-open Western states if a Bronx lawmaker has his way and the state’s speed limit on highways is raised from 65 mph to 75 mph.
Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, a freshman Democratic lawmaker, on Thursday introduced legislation that would have New York join 16 other states with speed limits of 75 mph. Nearly all with those higher limits are in the West, though Maine a couple of years ago raised its speed limit to 75 mph on a portion of Interstate 95.
The legislation, which does not have a Senate sponsor, would permit the state transportation commissioner to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on any interstate highway, including the Thruway, and permit 65 mph “for all or part of highways that are designated by the department, have at least four lanes of traffic and have a separation between the roadways moving in opposite directions.’’
The bill would permit counties to adopt their own lower limits on highways, roads and streets that would be below the maximum permitted by the new bill.
The Governors Highway Safety Association said 34 states have raised speed limits to 70 mph and higher since Congress repealed the national maximum speed limit in 1995.
Sepulveda’s bill is certain to be opposed by safety organizations, which have long argued that higher speeds lead to higher traffic death rates.