Lawmakers approve raising speed limits

Columbus Dispatch

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Ohioans would be able to legally drive 70 mph on rural interstates under a compromise approved Tuesday by state legislators.

The deal would advance construction dates by years for numerous highway projects.

The speed limit also would be increased to 60 mph on some two-lane highways as part of a conference committee’s version of a sweeping transportation bill, which is expected to win approval today in the Senate and Thursday in the House.

Lawmakers pushed back a move to allow a 10,000-pound increase in maximum truck weights, as well as the Kasich administration’s attempt to keep the governor’s promises on the Ohio Turnpike verbal instead of part of the law.

The panel did give Kasich wiggle room by saying national disasters or concerns by bondholders could allow him to back out on the pledge that the cost of EZ Passes for local turnpike trips would not increase more than the rate of inflation.

And lawmakers stuck with a written provision mandating that 90 percent of the money from Kasich’s $1.5 billion in bonds from the turnpike would be used within 75 miles of the northern Ohio toll.

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