Back when Governor Dan Walker was in office, the gas crisis was in full swing.
One day while the General Assembly was in session, he ordered the speed limit in Illinois to be dropped to 55 miles per hour.
On the way home, I was dutifully driving 55 MPH and a State Police car whizzed past me.
Though some sense of perverse duty I caught up to him flashed my lights and he pulled over.
“Did you know Governor Walker has lowered the speed limit to 55?” I asked.
He didn’t, so I suggested he check it out and drove on.
Now State Senator Jim Oberweis has passed a bill through the State Senate that would set the speed limit on Interstates to 70 MPH.
And it’s on the House floor.
The Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board members editorialized against it after an article about Oberweis’ accomplishment made the front page.
I have to wonder if any those Board members drive outside of the Chicago metropolitan area.
But, it’s not just Chicago influencials who don’t want people driving at a legal 70 miles per hour on Illinois’ boring interstates.
Back when Governor Jim Edgar was in office, the speed limit on Tollways outside of the six-county area was 70 MPH.
That didn’t satisfy Edgar, who did very little traveling on interstates. (He flew in state planes.)
Without asking the General Assembly, he lowed that speed limit to 65 MPH.
After all, he did appoint the members of the Toll Highway Authority and, when a Governor asks for something, he usually gets it.
At least the Tribune admits, “To an extent, Illinois would be playing catch-up. More than 30 states already allow motorists to travel 70 or 75 mph. Utah allows 80 mph.” It also notes that Texas is at 85 MPH.
One can understand why the Tribune would like to make is harder to get out of Illinois. After all, it sells few papers along Interstates leading to places better to live.
Oberweis had been luck promoting a 70 mile per hour speed limit than I did when I advanced it as part of my campaign for Governor on the Libertarian Party slate in 2002.
Maybe it’s been enough years that common sense will prevail.