The Texas Transportation Commission has approved the highest speed limit in the US, allowing motorists to legally travel at 85mph (137km/h).

Texas Highway Road Sign

The 66km toll road stretch of Texas' State Highway 130, running between Austin and San Antonio, will be the first to have an 85mph speed limit when it opens on November 11.

The 137km/h limit is not only 7km/h above the highest legal limit in Australia – the Northern Territory’s 130km/h - but also above the 75mph (120km/h) limit more common throughout the US.

US reports say the state’s contract with toll operators sees the state collect a $67 million ($64 million) up-front payment, or a percentage of future toll profits, if the speed limit is 80mph or lower, but this amount reaches $100 million ($96 million) or a higher take of toll revenues if maintained at the 85mph limit.

Spokesman for the American non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Russ Rader said that while higher speed limits allow people to get to their destinations faster, the trade-off is more crashes and more highway deaths.

“The research is clear… when speed limits go up, fatalities go up,” Rader said.

Tell us what you think. Should toll roads carry higher speed limits?

Image credit: AP Photo/Statesman.com, Ricardo B. Brazziell