Texans wasting no time

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.


  1. Tam »

    11 April 2011 · 10:53 am

    ~80 is the de facto speed limit on most “70 MPH” interstates anyway.

    People tend to drive at the speed they feel comfortable anyway, no matter what the signs say.

  2. Ric Locke »

    11 April 2011 · 11:37 am

    I didn’t see your post before I hit [Publish]. As usual, I have a modest proposal in the “Probability Epsilon” category.


  3. ms7168 »

    11 April 2011 · 11:56 am

    When I take the Turner Turnpike to Tulsa doing the posted 75 mph speed limit is as fast as I want to go. It’s just nice that now we can do it legally.

  4. fillyjonk »

    11 April 2011 · 12:38 pm

    I’ve occasionally crept up to 80 on 69/75 and still had people blowing by me…though I really don’t think that highway would be designed for 85 or higher, too many unexpected potholes. Then again, maybe some people enjoy “catching air” with their car.

  5. Dick Stanley »

    11 April 2011 · 1:36 pm

    Shoot, I have driven consistently at 100 plus mph on I-10 west of Junction, where there is no speed limit at all. None. And been passed by Porsches and Corvettes.

    This legislative hoo-rah is one of this session’s ploys to divert media and public attention from their real biennial business.

    Which is, as always, making law for the lobbies that pay the campaign bills and ongoing perks of the members.

  6. Dan B »

    11 April 2011 · 7:46 pm

    While roads actually designed to take 85 mph speed would be nice, I don’t expect to be driving that fast anytime soon thanks to fuel costs.

    With fuel prices bumping uglies with $4/gallon here, the speed limit is now more likely to be actually observed: 1) lower fuel costs from lower speeds, and 2) less leniency from the police due to lessened revenue from fewer people exceeding the speed limit.

  7. LeeAnn »

    12 April 2011 · 9:06 am

    A Texas autobahn. Well, I’ve always prefered Tex-Mex over sauerkraut.

  8. hatless in hattiesburg »

    12 April 2011 · 11:48 pm

    while i’m glad to hear the potential for higher speed limits where it’s wanted/needed, i’m even more glad to hear that the trans-texas-corridor is dying/dead.

RSS feed for comments on this post