Senate approves break for I-35E speeders, St. Paul residents irked

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Some residents in St. Paul are not too pleased with the Minnesota Senate's approval of an amendment that would give "practice freeway" speeders a slap on the wrist.

The Star Tribune reports the state Senate passed a measure that would keep speeding tickets for driving up to 10 miles over the 45-mph limit off driver's records. Drivers would still be required to pay a fine.

The "practice freeway" refers to a 3.7 mile-stretch of Interstate 35E near downtown St. Paul. The lower speed limit and limitations on heavy trucks was set forth in a 1984 federal court decree to minimize noise and pollution amid neighborhoods, schools and hospitals.

Karen Avaloz, founder of Residents in Protest 35E (RIP-35E), a group that fought for the stricter conditions 30 years ago, tells the newspaper that the Senate's proposal gives drivers an excuse to speed.

Creator of the amendment, Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, said the section of I-35E was built for faster traffic and the 45-mph serves as a speed trap.

MinnPost says during the vote, Sen. Dick Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, attempted to tell his Senate colleagues that they could not legislate changes in a federal court decree.

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