QCSun Managing Editor
Under New Mexico state law, a county government cannot set speed limits on a county road without conducting expensive engineering surveys, traffic investigations, and getting the approval of the state transportation commission.
Quay County Commissioner Sue Dowell thinks the requirements are unreasonable, and recently got some support for that view from Gov. Susana Martinez and two state legislators.
Dowell reported to the commissioners on Monday that she had brought this matter to attention of Gov. Susana Martinez, State Rep. Dennis Roch (R-Texico) and State Sen. Pat Woods (R-Melrose), when the three visited Tucumcari on June 27. All three said the New Mexico county speed limit law should be changed, Dowell said.
“Cities don’t have to go through that rigmarole,” Roch said on Tuesday. “Counties, especially rural counties, don’t have the money to jump through all those hoops.”
The legislature, he said, should revisit that statute.
Woods said he generally believes in local control, but he wants to do more research on the issue first. The county, he said, should have the best idea of where problems with speed limits are and where the limits should be lowered.
Dowell has brought the matter of county road speed limits before the commission several times in the past several months, acting, she said, on complaints from constituents. Dowell represents District 1, which includes the area around Tucumcari.
There are several county roads in her district, Dowell said, that run next to front yards of homes where there are children. She said residents along these roads would like to see speed limits as low as 25 to 30 miles per hour on some of these roads.
Dowell said the current county road speed limit statute has been on the books since 1953.