New highway span to get 85 mph speed limit

41-mile toll section of Texas' Highway 130 would be nation's fastest

Published On: Sep 07 2012 10:15:18 AM CDT   Updated On: Sep 10 2012 10:25:04 AM CDT
MUSTANG RIDGE, Texas -

Texas' reputation for going big in every endeavor may soon extend into traffic speeds after transportation officials announced that they are testing the nation's highest speed limit -- 85 mph -- on a new stretch of area toll road.

The Associated Press reported that the new 41-mile section of state Highway 130 in Mustang Ridge will run north-south between Austin and Seguin.

The new speed limit was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission and would be about 5 mph faster than some highways in rural West Texas and southern Utah that currently have 80 mph speed limits.

Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Veronica Beyer said the speed hike is a result of the agency's efforts to look for ways to boost revenue, but that the safety of motorists is a chief concern.

"Safety is our top priority and tests have shown the designated speed is a safe one," Beyer said.

"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, told AP. He added that the higher speeds may reduce travel time, "but the trade-off is more crashes and more highway deaths."

The new high-speed section of roadway is scheduled to open this fall, but toll prices have yet to be determined.