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The state Department of Transportation will get to choose which highways get a speed limit boost to 70 mph as part of a deal struck among state senators Tuesday.

Roadways with at-grade crossings will not be on the list, according to a story from Instead, only expressways and highways with on- and off-ramps, overpasses and/or underpasses will be considered.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, long a supporter of the change, told the newspaper he was pleased with the progress the bill was making.

“We plan to take it up in the Assembly as soon as possible with the hope the new limit will be in place for the summer tourism season,” Vos is quoted as saying.

The Assembly last month approved a different version of the bill, so the Senate’s version has to go back before representatives for approval before Gov. Scott Walker signs it.

States surrounding Wisconsin – including Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, and Iowa – have posted speed limits of 70 mph.

Milwaukee Democrat Dan Riemer opposes the increase and said supporters haven’t presented enough research about safety to bolster their position.

“I’m not philosophically or absolutely opposed to this change in the law, but I want to see strong evidence that it would make the roads safer or at least as safe as they are,” he is quoted as saying.


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