PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texans who feel the need for speed could soon get a reprieve. The North Central Texas Council of Governments will take the first step Thursday in a plan to raise the speed limits on certain highways.

Regional planners first need to show that unhealthy vehicle emissions are decreasing. Back in 2001, the speed limits along about 400 miles of roadway were reduced in order to improve air quality. Now, the state wants to increase the speed limits on those roads again, by about 5 mph.

In order to do that, the Regional Transportation Council is expected to vote Thursday on a partnership. Using $84 million in existing air quality funding, that partnership will take a number of steps, such as updating traffic light timing and putting more restrictions on trucks.

Then, it is possible that, by the end of the year, the Texas Department of Transportation will be permitted to raise the speed limits on those roads.

“We took a conservative approach that we just went with the five miles,” explained Chris Klaus with the NCTCOG, “and felt that, from an engineering aspect, you’re not going to impact the safety at all just by a few miles an hour.”

Experts have stated that air quality is not affected as much at higher speeds. Vehicle emissions are more of a problem in stop-and-go traffic.

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