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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon House Passes Bill To Boost Speed Limits

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The Oregon Legislature is considering a measure that a measure that would boost the top speed on the state's rural roads to 70 mph.

Speed limits throughout eastern Oregon could increase under a bill moving through the state Legislature.

Oregon is currently one of 11 states with a top speed limit of only 65 mph.The Oregon House Wednesday approved a measure to boost the top speed on rural roads to 70 mph.

Rep. Cliff Bentz represents part of eastern Oregon. He said the measure would make commuting easier for people in his district.

“Distance is one of the great restrictions on the participation of people from my part of the world to engage in activities in your part of the world,” Bentz said.

But some lawmakers worry about its environmental impact. Rep. Phil Barnhart said higher speeds mean more pollution.

“Yes, it is convenient to go much faster,” he said. “Yes, it is something that people benefit from in the terms of the savings of time. But, in terms of energy, it is vastly less efficient.”

The bill now moves to the state Senate.