A bill has passed the Mississippi House of Representatives to raise the maximum speed limit from 70 to 75. Support for an increase is pretty clear.
"Time is money," said state Rep. Johnny Stringer, the bill's author. "People are in a hurry. We just want to make people legal."
Stringer's bill passed the full House overwhelmingly. If it becomes law, Mississippi's three transportation commissioners would be given the authority to raise the limits, but would first have to assess infrastructure and make the decision as to which roadways get the increase.
"They'll take their engineers, their professionals, to go out and see what roads they can raise it to 75," said Stringer. "But you know, most roads that are 70 now would probably go to 75."
That means major interstates and possibly a few limited-access highways. Currently, sixteen states have already increased speed limits to 75. Texas has gone as high as 85.
Stringer says raising the limit puts Mississippi in line with those neighboring states and should accelerate others to follow suit.
"If we pass it, Alabama will probably raise theirs also," Stringer said.
Stringer says he would have entertained the idea sooner but the federal government wouldn't let the state raise the limits without losing federal money. That restriction is now gone and Stringer says it's time for Mississippi to shift into high gear.
The bill is now pending action in the Mississippi Senate.
Representatives from the highway patrol won't comment on pending legislation, but do say whatever is passed from the legislature will be enforced.