The Texas Legislature is contemplating a world, or at least a state, where it’s possible to have an 85-mph speed limit:
The House on Thursday passed Brenham state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s HB 1201 on final reading. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by Katy Republican Glenn Hegar.
HB 1201’s primary goal is to drive a legislative stake into the heart of the controversial but already-dead Trans-Texas Corridor, a network of toll roads and rail and utility lines that would have slashed across rural Texas. The bill preserves one aspect of the TTC: the speed limit.
This bill would not, in and of itself, raise existing speed limits:
The 85 mph speed limit would apply only to specially built roads and only after the Texas Department of Transportation performs engineering and traffic studies.
And at the moment, TxDOT has no such roads under construction.
The usual Dire Warnings were aired:
“People already drive 5-to-10 mph over the limit,” [Sheriff’s Capt. Reno Lewis in West Texas’ Reeves County] said. “Eighty is fast enough. You put it up to 85, and they drive 5-to-10 mph faster, they’ll be going close to 100 mph.”
I’m sure Capt. Lewis spends more time in Reeves County than I do, but this is what it was like when I was driving 80 in west Texas:
This speed limit, I suspect, reflects the reality of this road: I punched up Gwendolyn’s cruise to an indicated 81 mph, and scarcely anyone bothered to pass me. The Texas Highway Patrol, meanwhile, is ready to make sure you don’t abuse the privilege.
There is, of course, no privilege that can’t be abused by someone.