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Northwest Lawmakers Mull Higher Speed Limits

File photo. Drivers can legally top out at 80 mph on some sections of interstate highway in Idaho.
File photo. Drivers can legally top out at 80 mph on some sections of interstate highway in Idaho.

Some Northwest lawmakers want you to be able to drive faster. Bills in both Oregon and Washington would increase the speed limit on some sections of highway.

Oregon Republican Representative Greg Barreto is a habitual speeder who isn't afraid to admit it.

"I have to say, when you're going 72, 73 miles an hour, you're just keeping up with traffic,” he said. “Everyone else is going about the same speed."

Barreto is a chief sponsor of a bill in Salem to hike the speed limit from 65 to 75 on a long stretch of Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon. The measure would also raise the limit from 55 to 70 along several stretches of two-lane road in rural central and southeast Oregon. In Olympia, there's a similar bill to raise the limit from 70 to 75 along I-90 in eastern Washington.

A separate Oregon bill would raise the current limit to 70 mph. Neither of the Oregon measures has been scheduled for a hearing. The Washington bill was approved by a Senate committee, but no additional action has been taken.

But even if those measures pass, the fastest Northwest speed limit will still be in Idaho. That's where drivers can legally top out at 80 miles an hour on some sections of interstate highway.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.