It is scary to think what might happen if Rep. Whitmer were successful at giving city councils a voice in setting state-highway speed limits within city boundaries. (Presently this is the job of the Michigan Department of Transportation and the State Police.) Each of Michigan's 500 or so cities and villages might try to restrict speed limits on the main highways through town. This bill should not even be given a hearing.
Speed limits are already unrealistically low on most state highways and city streets. If cities could influence highway speed limits more than they do already, Michigan's state highways would be come an obstacle course of speed traps, to the great profit of the cities enacting the limits. In Rep. Whitmer's home town of East Lansing, local politicians have pressured the state into reducing the limit on Business I-69 from its normal value of 50 mph to 35. Of course, the road is driven every day by thousands of drivers at 45 or 50 mph, placing each of these taxpayers at risk of a ticket and resulting insurance surcharges.
City councils can be counted on always to do the selfish thing, and try to legislate traffic problems onto their neighbors. Witness the closure of Tienken Road by Auburn Hills, which successfully dumped its traffic onto an adjoining jursidiction. What would it be like if every city could throttle traffic with artificially-low speed limits? A driver from Pontiac to Detroit would come under the jurisdiction of ten different city councils, including the car-hating crusaders of Ferndale. Each side of Woodward might have a different speed limit, depending on whether it's in Berkley or Royal Oak.
In return for our 19-cent-per-gallon gas taxes and $80 or $100 registration taxes, Michigan motorists should be able to count on our state representatives to provide a fast and efficient highway system, and protect us from marauding local governments. Instead, Rep. Whitmer wants to help the cities pick our pockets while slowing traffic to a crawl.