Friday, September 07, 2012

Texas Road Will Inaugurate 85 MPH Speed Limit, Nation's Highest : The Two-Way : NPR

Texas Road Will Inaugurate 85 MPH Speed Limit, Nation's Highest : The Two-Way : NPR

Oh this is wonderful on so many levels.
Let's start with just the basic idea of setting an 85 MPH speed limit.  We all know that a majority of drivers think it's their right, nay their obligation, to drive at least 5 MPH over the posted speed limit. So Texas will have drivers thinking it's just fine to drive 90 MPH on this road.
-"The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up," Russ Rader, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, tells the AP.
But wait: the stretch of road is only 41 miles long.
-The 85 mph limit will be enforced on 41 newly built miles of Texas 130, a toll road in the Austin area. The road's new section is slated to open in November.
So drivers will be on this road for a little less than half an hour, and then expected to drop back to a different speed limit. I wonder how much warning they'll have of the change?
Texas is going to benefit from this move:
-"This is no small financial matter to the state," wrote The Austin Statesman's Ben Wear back in April, when the bill setting the limit was passed. "Its contract with a consortium led by Cintra, a Spanish toll road company... specifies that TxDOT would get an extra $67 million if the speed limit is 80 mph. Set the limit at 85 mph, and that premium rises to $100 million."
And is doing it's best to make sure more drivers run this little speed gauntlet-
-In a move that presents drivers with a stark choice, the Express reports, the speed limit on a highway that runs parallel to Texas 130 has been lowered, from 65 to 55 mph.
I'd really like to hear the rational behind this action. 'Your choice, Texas driver. 10 MPH slower than you've been used to, or 20 MPH faster'?
On the other hand: why does a Spanish toll road company have anything to do with a Texas road? Aren't there any companies in Texas, or in the US that could be doing whatever the Spanish company is?
This is interesting: according to wikipedia:
In 2005, Cintra was named strategic partner of the State of Texas for the subsequent 50 years, in order to help develop the Trans-Texas Corridor. It was to be operated in a partnership with San Antonio, Texas based Zachry Construction Company. Widely seen as one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the USA, the project was eliminated as the scope and invasive nature of the project was exposed. Cintra continues working with the local administration to deliver infrastructure.
Invasive nature? Let's see what that's about:
American author and conservative activist Jerome Corsi vehemently opposed the Corridor and wrote a book called The Late Great USA, the coming merger with Mexico and Canada... In 2002, the TTC was estimated to cost between US$145.2 billion to $183.5 billion to complete the entire 4,000-mile (6,400 km) network... Some criticisms have focused on the enormous width of the corridors. The planned system, if built out to its fullest extent, could have required about 584,000 acres (2,360 km2) of land to be purchased or acquired through the state's assertion of eminent domain. Environmentalists were concerned about the effects of such wide corridors and private land owners have expressed concerns about property rights. Opponents also alleged that noise from the TTC would be of such a high volume that it would render the area within one mile (1.6 km) of the corridor uninhabitable by humans, at least during periods of peak traffic on all components of the corridor (freight and passenger rail, truck lanes, and passenger lanes) if they are colocated and built to full capacity.

Texas: loving it's citizens to death!
-Texas ranks in the top ten nationally in terms of its cervical cancer rate and has the highest rate of uninsured women.  In July, Texas was ranked worst in the nation in health care services and delivery, according to an annual scorecard issued by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.  Governor Perry also publicly stated he would not expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, which means many women and families in need of health care will continue to be left behind in Texas.

So maybe the higher speed limits are there so people can get out of Texas, and to a doctor, faster?

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