A new speed limit could soon be in place on the Pennsylvania Turnpike if a plan to raise it from 65 mph to 70 mph advances.
The 70-mph speed limit idea is something of a throwback.
In fact, Turnpike Commission spokesman Carl DeFebo says the toll road was something of a “Wild West” in its early days.
“When the Turnpike opened Oct. 1, 1940, there was no speed limit – unlimited speed. It wasn’t until 1941 that there was a bill signed implementing a 70-mph passenger car speed limit,” he said Tuesday.
Shortly after that, DeFebo says, lower speed limits were imposed, when the onset of World War II brought fuel rationing.
State Rep. Joe Preston, D-Allegheny, is behind a bill to boost the speed limit – only if the Turnpike Commission so chooses.
“It doesn’t mean that it has to,” he said. “But to be able to give the latitude, if it so chooses in the different areas that have changed or improved, they can raise it from 65 to 70.
He says having the option to impose a higher limit makes sense – because vehicles are safer and the Turnpike has been widened, flattened, and straightened over the past decade or so.
Democrats were the only lawmakers to vote against the bill in committee.
It now heads to the full House for a vote.