McDonnell Pledges to Up Speed Limit to 70

New governor pushes for 70 mph speed limit in rural areas

By Asha Beh
|  Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010  |  Updated 12:52 PM EDT
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McDonnell Promises Thousands of New Jobs

During his Inauguration speech Saturday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell promised to reform government and bring desperately needed jobs to the state.
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Never let it be said that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is not a man of his word.

During his State of the Commonwealth Address before a joint session of the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond Monday, the newly inaugurated governor renewed two of his campaign pledges, including a plan to up the speed limit in Virginia.

McDonnell said the speed limit in sparsely populated areas on I-95, I-64, I-81 and I-77 should be increased to 70 mph.

To back up his plan, he noted that 32 states already have 70 mph speed limits, and 13 have speed limits set at 75 mph.

"We think we can get traffic moving a little quicker in the more sparsely populated areas of Virginia ... and do it in a way that's safe for motorists, works for law enforcement, but makes sense," McDonnell spokesperson Tucker Martin told CBS6.

Some Virginia residents, though, weren't too happy about the proposal, telling local news outlets that "it's crazy" or "it would be stupid" to make such a change because, "at 70 miles per hour, people will go 90 miles per hour."

Others said it wouldn't change much on the roads.

"I don't think raising it to 70 will make any difference. I think everybody goes over 70 when they're on an interstate," David Alderman told WDBJ7.

McDonnell also said he plans to reopen Virginia's rest stops this spring.

The Virginia Department of Transportation closed 18 rest areas last July as part of a plan to cut nearly $9 million in expenses from a strained state budget.

McDonnell said that the rest stops would be reopened within 87 days.

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