A bill that could raise the speed limits on certain Florida highways is now on its way to Governor Rick Scott, after it passed the House in a very close vote.
Rep. Matt Caldwell’s (R-Lehigh Acres) bill is not a partisan issue. In fact, whenever the bipartisan bill gets taken up by either chamber, Republicans and Democrats vote in favor and against the bill. And, Wednesday’s 58-56 vote in the House was no different, as members debated passionately on the issue.
“For Florida, we’ve passed so much good legislation this term. I don’t believe we need to have this legacy. I do not want to read in the paper or learn or get a phone call in the middle of the night that somebody in my district was going whatever miles per hour because we raised the speed limit and lost control and were killed,” said Rep. Charles Van Zant (R-Keystone Heights), an opponent of the bill.
But, rejecting what he called “emotional” arguments for or against the bill, Caldwell says his measure comes from a factual premise.
“Today, we have roads that are designed, I’m told, to handle as much as 90 to 100 mile-per-hour traffic, and you have vehicles that can safely travel at very, very high speeds,” said Caldwell. “If 70 miles-per-hour is below the 85th percentile safe speed, you’re actually endangering those drivers under the definition used by FDOT.”
The measure could allow Department of Transportation officials to raise the speed limit up to 75 miles on certain highways, only after they’ve done a speed study. They could also raise the minimum speeds as well. The Florida Senate passed the measure last week.
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