MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - A proposal to raise the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on Wisconsin’s rural Interstates passed the State Assembly Tuesday, but most central Wisconsin Representatives voted against the bill.
Democrat Katrina Shankland from Stevens Point, Amy Sue Vruwink from Milladore, Mandy Wright from Wausau and John Spiros from Marshfield voted against it.
Shankland and Spiros both cited safety concerns, and Shankland also felt she didn’t get the answers she needed to support this rushed bill. “If we’re going to take up a serious bill that will cost $130 per sign on 1,220 miles of road that has to be implemented in just a couple of months, I would hope that our government agency stakeholders would be there to provide us with real information. Unfortunately, we didn’t see that, so that was one of my biggest concerns.”
Shankland says she received safety data from Schneider National Trucking, which shows a 20% increase in fatalities in crashes with the five mile per hour speed increase. “There are some significant costs, not just monetary, but also cost of human lives that you need to consider, and I felt that the Legislature didn’t do it’s due diligence on this bill.”
Spiros issued a statement Wednesday saying he could not vote for the bill after working with the trucking industry on safety issues. He offered an amendment to the bill to allow the Department of Transportation to investigate and decide which roadways would be safe at 70 miles per hour and to look into split speed limits for cars and trucks. The amendment was not passed.