Letter: HB80 undermines air quality

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

Utah’s HB80, sponsored by Rep. James Dunnigan, permits the Utah Department of Transportation to raise speed limits on urban area freeways to 70 or 75 mph and passed the House by a 63-8 vote.

He is quoted as saying, “Higher speed limits do not have a negative impact on air quality, even an increase of as much as 15 mph.”

How can he say that when all studies indicate that higher speeds above “an optimum” require more gas consumption, therefore more pollution? At this time when so many are concerned about ways to remove harmful emissions, reducing the speed limit to 55 or 60 mph on urban freeways along the Wasatch Front would reduce gas consumption, and therefore, pollution.

Surely if UDOT can reduce the speed in Parleys Canyon on extreme weather days to reduce accidents, then it can reduce speed on urban freeways on red or yellow alert days. This can be done using the overhead computerized signage on the freeways that now exist, and more could be added.

Glenn Jensen

Salt Lake City

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