Montana representatives have endorsed a proposal to increase interstate highway speed limits from 75 to 80 mph.

Senate Bill 375 by Republican Sen. Scott Sales of Bozeman passed second reading on a 54-46 vote in the House Thursday.

The proposal would increase highway speed limits by 5 mph at certain areas where the Montana Department of Transportation deems the speeds safe. It would also increase maximum speeding fines from $100 to $200.

Montana Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler says the fine increases would liken Montana's speeding punishments to seven surrounding states.

The patrol has supported SB 375 and opposed three other bills to increase highway speed limits that died this session. The other proposals included no changes to speeding fines.

Increasing the fines would accrue nearly $100,000 in additional state revenue every year.

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