Two years ago, the Legislature asked the Washington State Department of Transportation to study the higher speed limit for parts of I-90 between Ellensburg and the Spokane County border. The department concluded it would cut travel time along the route by just five minutes and cost more in fuel and traffic accidents. So the WSDOT declined to raise the speed limit at the time.
Now, Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic, one of the co-sponsors of the 2015 law, has introduced a new bill to take the decision out of the department’s hands. Senate Bill 5053 would raise the speed to 75 mph between Ellensburg and milepost 120, and between George and the Spokane County line, and wouldn’t let the secretary of Transportation reduce it.
WSDOT officials, the Washington State Patrol and Traffic Safety Commission had the same response to this bill as the past one- telling the Senate Transportation Committee it is a bad idea, for all the same reasons as in the previous study. The committee will decide in the coming weeks whether to send the proposal to the full Senate.