This week the State of Texas has made American transportation history by approving a stretch of highway with a speed limit of 85 MPH—the highest anywhere in the United States. The stretch of State Highway 130 is an alternate route connecting the suburbs of Austin and San Antonio. The proposed legislation, that would increase the speed to its record setting number, is designed to ease congestion for people traveling between two of the state’s densest communities. SH 130 will be a toll road of sorts, and while the actual amount of the toll has yet to be determined, the means for collecting the toll will be completely electronic—eliminating the need for toll booths. Because what’s the point of pure unadulterated speed if you have to slow down to pay for it?
The new speed limit has drawn much criticism from traffic safety advocates and insurance companies because studies have shown that increased speed in traffic incidents has a direct correlation to fatalities. Good ole fashioned common sense says that the faster you’re going when you crash the better the chance that you’re going to be killed, kill someone else, or both. The committee that approved the new speed limit refutes their critics by claiming safety is their “top priority” and NOT the 100 million dollars the state will be receiving from from the SH130 Concession Co. for passing the legislation.
Just down the road, the United States’ first Grand Prix facility, Circuit of the Americas, will be completed in the next couple of months. The facilities opening will coincide with the opening of SH130—in early November they will be hosting the first Formula 1 race to take place in the States since 2007.
Regardless of the motives behind the new speed limit, the fact remains that you will be able to drive really fast to a stadium where you can watch a bunch of other people…drive really fast. I think it’s time we make a modification to the old adage because as of today “Everything is bigger AND faster in Texas!”