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55 Mph Speed Limit Pitched To Cut Bay Area Pollution

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Bay Area transportation leaders are weighing several ideas to help comply with state mandates to improve the regions air quality. Among them, dropping the speed limit on freeways from 65 mph to 55 mph.

John Goodwin from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission stressed it’s just one idea among many being considered in a wide reaching carbon reduction program called Plan Bay Area. He added that there’s no recommendation by the commission that freeway speeds be reduced at all.

State law requires the Bay Area reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by the year 2035.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has said dropping the maximum freeway speed limit by 10 miles per hour could reduce emissions six percent in that time.

The suggestion to slow speeds is not being embraced by drivers. Dan Dubuque, who commutes between the North Bay and San Francisco, called the idea ridiculous.

“People don’t comply with 65, so asking people to comply with 55 is asking too much,” he said.

Katie Youstos said it’s the vehicles that need to be changed with better design, not the speed. She is not convinced dropping to 55 on the freeway would improve air quality either, arguing if you slow cars down, they’ll just be on the road longer.

“It’s probably going to equal out the amount of greenhouse gasses out there anyways. It’s definitely not the best solution. It’s an obvious one which is usually not the best one,” Youstos argued.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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