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Speed limit bill faces unclear future in State Senate

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Don't get that lead-foot in shape just yet. We're still waiting to find out if the Wisconsin Senate will consider raising the speed limit from 65-to-70 on rural Interstates. At last word majority Senate Republicans had no plans to take it up -- but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is confident that they will, after his house approved the higher speed yesterday on a vote of 63-to-32.

Supporters said it would put the Badger State in line with three dozen other states that allow 70 on some of its four-lane roads -- including all of Wisconsin's neighbors. They also said it would save time for tourists and commuters. The bill's chief sponsor, Manitowoc Republican Paul Tittl, said many drivers already speeding at 70. Tittl believes his bill would make freeways safer, since more vehicles would be going at the same speed. Opponents disagreed, pointing to studies that higher speeds cause more accidents and more deaths.

Schneider National trucking of Green Bay made that argument in a memo to lawmakers just before yesterday's vote. The firm also said it would reduce fuel efficiency by nine-percent.

The bill also calls for a study of raising the 65-speed on non-Interstate four-lane roads. Most Democrats voted no to 70, but Minority Leader Peter Barca was among eight Democrats voting yes. All Republicans voted yes except for Garey Bies of Sister Bay and John Spiros of Marshfield.