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Legislation Clarifying How Local Speed Limits are Set Passes the House

Posted on March 26, 2021 by John LaMacchia

The League has consistently advocated for greater flexibility and clarity on how speed limits can be set at the local level to ensure all users of the roadway and the context of our local streets are considered. This week, House Bill 4014, sponsored by Representative Slagh, passed the House by a vote of 94-13 and moved one step closer to providing communities with the needed clarity and flexibility we have been advocating for.

Specifically this bill makes two important changes:

  • Clarifies that when setting a speed limit based on the 85th percentile speed the posted speed can be round to “within” 5 mph of the 85th percentile of speed rather than to the “nearest” 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed. This change will ensure that when setting a speed limit, communities will not have to post a speed limit above the 85th percentile of speed because the law would no longer put you in a position where you would have to round up.
  • Clarifies that a community can use and engineering and safety study to reduce the speed below the 85th percentile speed, but not below the 50th percentile speed, if the engineering and safety study demonstrates a situation with hazards to public safety that are not reflected by the 85th percentile speed.

This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and we will continue to work with the sponsor and members of the Senate to move this bill forward.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

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