Sen. LeRoy Stumpf offered a confession to the Senate Transportation Committee.
The West Central Tribune reports the Plummer Democrat said he sometimes speeds while traveling his northwest Minnesota district.
“I bring this bill to you on behalf of all the guilty people across the state of Minnesota,” Stumpf said Tuesday. “It is just my Catholic guilt complex.”
Stumpf’s bill would raise speed limits on two-lane roads from 55 miles an hour to 60.
The committee delayed work on it so Stumpf and the Minnesota Department of Transportation can work out wording.
A MnDOT representative opposed the bill, saying that the way it was written it would increase speed limits even on county and township gravel roads.
Stumpf said he would be happy just raising speed limits on paved state roads.
“Most of the roads in our part of the state are 55 miles an hour,” Stumpf said. “Of course, they are all flat and very low traffic. Yet, somehow, going above that 55 miles an hour speed limit makes me feel guilty.”
Transportation Chairman Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, indicated he favors the bill. “It seems to me there is an increased consumer demand out there for increasing the speed limit.”
MnDOT’s Sue Groth said a study after Minnesota raised some limits to 60 in 2006 shows that while traffic accidents fell statewide, the rate of decline was slower on 60 mph highways.
“We believe it will increase travel speeds … and increase the total number of crashes, serious injuries and fatalities,” she said.
Sen. Tony Lourey, DFL-Kerrick, was alarmed about raising limits on gravel roads. “There are some significant engineering deficiencies on a lot of miles of road.”