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IDOT Secretary Urges Lawmakers To Reject 70 MPH Highway Speed Limit

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File photo of cars on a Chicago area highway (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

File photo of cars on a Chicago area highway (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

tafoya250 Bernie Tafoya
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CHICAGO (CBS) – The state’s top transportation official would like to slow momentum for a move to increase the top speed limit in Illinois.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports proposed legislation to increase the speed limit on most of Illinois’ interstate highways and tollways from 65 to 70 mph has been rolling through the General Assembly, with no apparent stop sign in the way.

The Illinois Senate passed the measure by a 41-6 vote last month, and a House committee unanimously endorsed it this month. The full House could vote later this month.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Anne Schneider has been trying to put the brakes on efforts to approve the higher speed limit.

“The higher the speed limit, the more likely you are to be in a crash,” she said. “And if you’re in a crash, the more likely you are to be killed.”

Schneider said she’ll keep working every day to try to convince lawmakers not to support an increase in the speed limit.

“We just want to make our roads as safe as possible. We don’t want to see our fatality rates go up, and so we think it’s important enough that we have worked against raising the speed limit to 70 miles per hour,” she said.

However, supporters have said an increased speed limit would not mean a significant increase in traffic crashes.

Eight counties – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties in the Chicago area; and St. Clair and Madison counties near St. Louis – would be able to opt out of the increased speed limit.

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