Delegate Neil Parrott is sponsoring a bill to increase the speed limit from 65 to 70 on Maryland's expressways, interstates, and highways.
"Prior to 1973, that was the maximum speed limit in Maryland. It was 70 miles per hour. Now our roadways are safer. Our cars are safer. They run more efficiently at high speeds, and it makes sense to return to what we had before at 70 miles per hour," says Parrott, (R) , Washington County.
Senator George Edwards is sponsoring his own bill to increase the speed limit from 65 to 70 along Route 68 in Maryland.
"It connects 69 to West Virginia, where it is 70 miles per hour. A lot of my constituents say, 'If you go 70 miles per hour in West Virginia on 68, why can't we do it in Maryland?' Our roads are actually better than their roads when you look at the safety features, the width of it, and so forth," says Edwards, (R) - Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties.
Senator Ron Young is a co-sponsor of the bill.
"The roads, like in Senator Edwards' area, there's not a lot of traffic. The roads are designed for it. They're safe. There are roads around the state where the same conditions are true, and I think it just makes sense. It improves traffic," says Young, (D) , Frederick and Washington Counties.
Parrott, who also works as a traffic engineer, says he doesn't believe increasing the speed limit will result in drivers going faster.
"Motorists tend to go what's comfortable with the speed. They gage their speed based on the roadway conditions, and they go what's comfortable," Parrott says. "When we raise the speeds, we typically don't see a jump in the speed, actual speed on the road, based on the speed limit."
The state speed limit is 70 in 35 other states, including Virginia and West Virginia. Parrott hopes to make Maryland number 36.
Del. Kathy Afzali (R), Frederick County, and Del. Andrew Serafini (R), Washington County, are co-sponsoring Parrott's bill.
Parrott's bill will be heard in committee on February 5th. Edwards' bill doesn't have a hearing date yet.