By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s been decades since a highway in Pennsylvania had a maximum speed limit of 70 miles per hour.

But if Pennsylvania Sen. Joe Scarnati of Brockway, the Senate’s senior senator, has his way, that higher limit could return to interstates across the state.

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“The bill I am about to introduce is one that will allow, not mandate, but allow PennDOT and the Turnpike to increase maximum speed from 65 to 70 on stretches of Interstate highway and the Turnpike that meet engineering specifications and safety specifications,” Scarnati told KDKA Money & Politics editor Jon Delano.

The bill still has a ways to go in the legislature, but many like the idea.

“I think it’s a great idea — I’m sure in areas where it’s straight and flat,” says Tricia Dituro of Scott Township.

Zach Dornisch of the North Side agrees, stating, “I don’t think it would be that much of a difference, and in other states you can already drive 70.”

Truth is Pennsylvania is among a minority of states that still has a 65 mile-per-hour maximum limit. Nineteen states have already moved to 70 miles-per-hour and 16 others have 75 and above, including parts of Texas where you can actually drive 85 miles-per-hour.

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Not everyone is convinced that 70 is safe or desirable.

Angie Lee of Carrick states, “I think 65 is definitely fast enough, absolutely.”

“I think they should keep it at 65. Got too many crazy people flying up and down the street anyway,” states Teddy Fletcher of Downtown.

Studies are mixed with some finding no link between higher speed limits and accidents.

But Scarnati recognizes this simple reality: “People do tend to go over the speed limit. They do it until they probably get caught.”

So 70 mph likely means 75 mph on the highway.

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