BISMARCK, N.D. (Prairie Public) – On a tie vote, the North Dakota House failed to pass a bill to raise speed limits.
The bill would raise the speed limits on non interstate four lane highways from 70 to 75, and on interstate highways from 75 to 80. The bill came out of committee with a “do not pass” recommendation. Supporters of the bill said North Dakota is a state that could benefit from these new speed limits, with its wide open spaces and long stretches of road.
They also said modern cars are built to go faster for longer periods of time, and states with higher speed limits don’t have drastically higher fatality rates. But those who opposed the bill say it would be too expensive to implement – paying to improve the roadways to accommodate higher speeds, as well as new signage, would cost $4.8 million this biennium and $4.5 million every biennium after that.
West Fargo Republican Representative Ben Koppelman said he supported the bill, but there could be some tweaking of the fiscal note.

Jamestown Republican Representative Bernie Satrom says while cars and highways are safer these days, it doesn’t necessarily mean drivers are better. He did not support the bill.

The vote on the floor was 46 to 46 with two absent – so the bill did not pass. But it could come back up on the House floor Thursday.