Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Note to Bob McDonnell: Increased Speed Limit Doesn't Help Commuters Stuck In Traffic

In a statement released today from the Governor’s office, Bob McDonnell praised the General Assembly for passing legislation that would “increase the speed limit in Virginia to 70mph in rural and less populated areas.”
“I thank Delegate Bill Carrico and Senator Steve Newman for their successful advocacy of this important proposal to speed up traffic in rural and less populated sections of Virginia. As today’s votes in both chambers demonstrate, there is broad bipartisan support for this common-sense idea. 32 states already have 70mph speed limits, and 13 allow motorists to drive 75mph. This slight increase in our speed limit will be safe for motorists and help get Virginians to their destinations a little quicker each day. This is an important early step towards our common goal of improving transportation in the Commonwealth.”
Now the increased speed limit might actually decrease the time that some people are on the road, but it’s absolutely ridiculous that McDonnell is using this as an excuse to say that he’s addressing our transportation issues. The most obvious reason this claim doesn’t work is the plain and simple fact that this new speed limit doesn’t apply to congested areas like Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Even if it did, anyone who has traveled in these areas knows that it doesn’t matter what the speed limit is if you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic that’s traveling half the speed limit well below the speed limit (if you’re moving at all).

With the way the obstructionist Republicans have been handling the transportation issues over the last few years, it shouldn’t be too surprising that Bob McDonnell would try to use a sham like this to claim he’s working on addressing transportation. With the Republicans in control of the House of Delegates and all three statewide offices, however, I’m sure any bill that will actually solve our problems will face as many legislative traffic jams and commuters do on Virginia’s roads everyday.

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