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Washington Highway Speed Limit Increase Now In Governor's Hands

Washington drivers might get to drive 75 on some rural highways.

A measure headed to Governor Jay Inslee's desk would boost the state's maximum speed limit to 75 miles per hour.

The legislation does not specify where the limit should be raised from the current top speed of 70. But lawmakers from Eastern Washington clearly want to drive faster on Interstate 90.

"If you have ever travelled between Ellensburg and Spokane I can tell you I believe there are places that that would be appropriate,” Republican Curtis King said Wednesday on the Washington Senate floor. “Of course, this would be done after WSDOT has done their analysis and would only occur in those places where they deem it safe enough to travel at that speed."

The few no" votes in the Washington Senate came from Democrats who fear that higher speeds will lead to more fatal collisions. Governor Inslee has not stated a position on the bill.

Separately, the Oregon Legislature is considering several proposals that would raise highway speed limits up to 75 miles per hour.

No matter what, Idaho will still have boasting rights to the highest speed limits in the Northwest -- 80 mph on some stretches of interstate.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.