Safety & Compliance

Illinois Lawmakers Approve Speed Limit Increase, Uncertain if Governor Will Sign

May 22, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Illinois lawmakers have given final approval to legislation increasing the speed limit along rural interstate sections to 70 mph, but it's not certain whether the governor will sign it into law.

The House voted Wednesday 85-30 in favor of the measure, following the Senate approving it last month by an overwhelming margin.

Supporters say the increase is needed because neighboring states have the higher limit and it will help the efficiency of trucking. Opponents argue it will lead to more traffic fatalities and make it more difficult for big rigs to stop.

It is not certain as to whether Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the measure. In published reports, a spokesman was quoted only as saying the governor “will carefully review the bill once it reaches his desk.”

The state transportation department and the state police are on record as opposing the hike. Last month a spokesman for Quinn indicated the governor had some safety concerns.

Even if Gov. Quinn vetoes the legislation, the bill passed by a large enough amount in both the House and Senate that lawmakers theoretically have enough votes to override such a decision.

Lawmakers in the Prairie State have also given final passage to legislation extending the waiver to the federal bridge formula exempting short axle combinations and vehicles. The Illinois-based Mid-West Truckers Association says it has gone to the legislature every 10 years to get the exemption, which affects thousands of trucks operating in the state, allowing them to carry a significant weight advantage.

Another bill also awaiting the governor’s signature allows several hundred three-axle cement mixers to benefit from the axle and weight exemptions of the special hauling vehicle registration. Previously these vehicles did not qualify for the exemption, says MTA.

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