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DeWine hints at veto if speed limit increases are in Ohio's transportation budget

A car appears blurry as it goes across a bridge in the rain
A car appears blurry as it goes across a bridge in the rain

Gov. Mike DeWine is strongly suggesting that if his Republican colleagues in the legislature pass an increase in speed limits, he’ll veto it.

The Senate version of the transportation budget would increase speeds on highways outside cities from 55 mph to 60 mph, and on two-lane state routes from 60 mph to 65 mph. There is no provision to increase speed limits in the House version of the budget.

DeWine voted against a repeal of federal speed limits when he was in Congress in 1995. He continues to oppose speed limit boosts, pointing to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that shows even a small increase in speed limits can cause more fatal crashes.

"The data clearly shows that if we increase the speed limit even only by 5 mph, there will be people who will die in Ohio that would not have died if we'd kept the speed limit where it is today. It's not worth the sacrifice of our loved ones on the highways," DeWine said. "So I'm adamantly against any kind of change in the speed limit as far as raising the speed limit."

The IIHS reports speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of US crash deaths. for more than 30 years.

When asked about DeWine’s comments, Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) didn’t endorse the speed limit hike, saying some speed limit increases make sense but maybe not all.

"There's a lot of different kinds of roads and there's a lot of different kinds of highways and there's a lot of different kind of things. So if it's western Kansas, I think you can drive 75 mph. But I think everybody has to be safe," Huffman said. "We're going to see what we're going to do with this particular provision, though."

The Ohio Senate is likely to vote on the state transportation budget this week. It must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by DeWine by March 31.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.