Senate Passes Town Speed Limit Mandate Relief Legislation

March 25, 2014

The New York State Senate passed mandate relief legislation today, sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), that would authorize towns to set speed limits within their own jurisdictions. Current law requires most towns to petition the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to set local speed limits, however, villages, cities and about 80 towns with large populations are exempt from the requirement.

“This is a mandate relief measure,” said Senator Little. “Towns in New York are required to jump through a hoop that villages, cities and some very large towns don’t have to, costing them time and money.  This would create a uniform policy treating all municipalities the same.”

The bill (S.1356) would authorize towns to establish maximum speed limits on all town highways that are functionally classified as local roads. Speed limits would be less than the 55 miles per hour statutory maximum speed  limit.

Towns that elect to set maximum speed limits would need to do so in accordance with engineering specifications and other factors applicable to speed limits.  Speed limit changes would require certification by a licensed professional engineer specializing in traffic operations.

The legislation would retain the DOT’s jurisdiction to set maximum speed limits on town roads at the request of town boards not wanting to set speed limits.

The bill is supported by the Association of Towns of the State of New York, Parks & Trails New York and AARP.  It is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Addie Russell.