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March 13. 2013 10:51PM

House votes to let I-93 drivers put pedal to metal north of Concord

CONCORD - The House on Wednesday voted 292-65 to hike the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on about 80 miles of Interstate 93, from Canterbury to the Vermont border - with the exception of Franconia Notch.

The vote sent House Bill 146 to the state Senate, but other measures calling for speed limit increases did fare as well, despite Nashua Democrat and House Transportation Committee member Brian Rhodes' argument that statistics do not show an increase in accident rates when speed limits are increased by 5 mph.

The House rejected:

--A proposed amendment to hike the speed limit on Interstate 89 from just north of Concord to the Lebanon area. It lost 187-165.

--House Bill 289, which would have increased the speed limit by 5 mph to 70 mph on the state's interstate highways and to 65 mph on the turnpike system. It would have also hiked the minimum highway speed from 45 to 50 mph. The bill lost 206-148.

--House Bill 291, which would have raised the speed limit on interstate highways to 75 mph, went down 252-100.

Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester, arguing for his amendment to hike the speed limit on I-89, said: "the consent of the governed" should rule. He said 80 to 90 percent of vehicles exceed the 65 mph speed limit.

But Rep. Michael O'Brien, D-Nashua, said the state Transportation Department describes I-89 as a "winding highway susceptible to high crosswinds."

The House also rejected, 242-102, a move to repeal the current prohibition on tinted windows on the driver's and passenger's sides of vehicles.


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