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Gov. Scott will veto 75 mph speed limit bill

Days after attending the funeral of a state trooper, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he will veto a bill that would allow drivers to go 75 miles an hour on Florida highways.

“I’m going to stand with law enforcement,” Scott said. “I want everybody to stay safe. I don’t want anyone to be injured, so I’m going to veto that bill.”

Scott declared his opposition five days after he went to the funeral of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was struck and killed by a passing car while investigating an accident on Interstate 75 in Ocala. The victim, Chelsea Renee Richard, died a week before her 31st birthday and on the day that her boyfriend, also a trooper, planned to ask her to marry him.

Richard, a nine-year veteran of the FHP, is survived by a four-year-old son. Two others, a tow truck driver and his friend, also were killed in the May 3 crash.

At Richard’s funeral last Thursday, another trooper, Tod Cloud, urged Scott to veto the bill, saying it “wasn’t a bright idea” for the state to promote faster driving and that people “do not drive with common sense” on I-75.

Contrary to pushing for higher speeds, Cloud said the state should reduce the speed limit on I-75 to 55 when the road surface is wet from rain.

Scott said Cloud made a “convincing” case, adding: “He was very passionate about it. He’s very concerned about troopers being out there on the highway and people driving too fast. By doing this, we’re doing the right thing.”

Supporters, including Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, noted that the bill only gave state DOT engineers the discretion to set the "save and advisable" speeds on interstates. But it nearly died in the House, squeaking through on a 58-56 vote, with 17 Republicans voting no.

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