PHOENIX — The Arizona House voted 35-23 Thursday to spend more than $177,000 to tell drivers to get the heck out of the fast lane.
And to devote another nearly $18,000 each year to maintaining the signs those funds would erect.
State law already spells out that motorists must drive on the right half of the road unless passing someone going in the same direction.
That leaves Rep. Isela Blanc, D-Tempe, wondering why the need to spend the money.
“Do you know what to do when you’re driving?” she asked Majority Leader John Allen. “Or do you need a sign to let you know that you need to move over to the right lane?”
“The way I drive, I might want to take the Fifth,” the Scottsdale Republican quipped in response.
On a more serious note, Allen said, “Having a suggestion that slower traffic keep to the right so that faster traffic can pass is probably in the best interest of both safety and the mental stability of people who want to go faster.”
Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Glendale, was not convinced that spending money to erect new signs is the best way to get that message out to motorists.
He said there are other options, including ensuring that the requirement to keep right is included in driving tests.
“We could be using the money for other purposes,” like paving and repairing roads, Andrade said.
Hoping to blunt criticism, Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, sponsor of the legislation, altered its language to specify that the “keep right” signs would be erected only in rural areas.
His House Bill 2301 bill would give the Arizona Department of Transportation until Sept. 1, 2021, to put up the signs.
The measure now goes to the Senate.