Ricketts backs bill to raise speed limits on I-80, highways

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is backing a bill that would raise the speed limit on parts of Interstate 80 and other state highways.

The bill introduced Tuesday would allow the state Department of Transportation to increase the limits to 80 mph on sections of I-80, up from the current 75 mph.

Sen. John Murante of Gretna, who introduced the bill, says the department would immediately raise the speed limit on I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln if the proposal goes into effect. Many other rural highways and expressways would see speed limit increases of 5 mph.

Ricketts says the measure would make Nebraska's transportation system more effective, efficient and customer-focused.

However, the Nebraska Safety Council said people are only thinking about convenience, which can be deadly.

"When we increased the speed limit in 1996, it went from 65-75, and the years after that we saw a 24 percent increase in the number of fatalities. That's about 61 people," said Nebraska Safety Council member Mark Segerstrom.