LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—The speed limit in Wisconsin would increase to 70 mph under a proposal being introduced in the state Assembly.
Republican Rep. Paul Tittl of Manitowoc planned to unveil his proposal Tuesday at a Capitol news conference.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has already voiced his support for the idea, saying he expected the Legislature to take up the proposal when it comes back into session in September.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Monday signed a bill allowing the speed limit to increase on rural interstates there to 70 mph, even though the Illinois State Police and Quinn's transportation chief opposed the increase, arguing higher speeds would translate into more accidents.
On their way to a family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells, Joe Chase said it's frustrating to have to slow down once he gets to La Crosse, from Rochester, so he welcomes the change.
"I think it will make you more competitive as far as visitors go," Chase said. "Quite honestly, when I've been to Madison a few times over the last couple weeks, you have to go 80 mph just to keep up with some people."
Other drivers worry the increase would speed people up even more.
"I wouldn't think it's necessary that five miles per hour isn't going to get us there much faster and probably would up the risk for worse accidents and more carelessness," Anita Hartkopf said.
Wisconsin State Patrol agrees it isn't a good idea to raise the speed limit.
"With speed comes higher energy in crashes and that leads to additional injury, serious injury and deaths," Major Sandra Huxtable said.
Huxtable said no matter what the limit is, speed is always an issue on the interstate, for at least half of the year.
"That does come down in the winter time, heavy snowfalls help us rest the speed," Huxtable said.
While Hartkopf doesn't like the idea of increased speed limits in Wisconsin, she said it could help in other states.
"The longer distance and empty open spaces for instance South Dakota," Hartkopf said. "Theres more open spaces and so to get from one place to another easily with big open spaces."
After congress removed restrictions on states raising their own limits in 1995, 34 states have raised their speed limits over the last two decades.
The highest in the nation is a 40 mile stretch of highway toll road in Texas where the limit is 85 miles an hour.
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