Hearing set on bill to end split speeds in Illinois

| 4/24/2003

The Illinois Senate Transportation Committee has scheduled a hearing on a bill that would eliminate the state’s split speed limit, a spokeswoman for the committee told Land Line April 23.

HB1186 would cut provisions in Illinois law that set up a slower speed for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds. Those vehicles can now travel at 55 mph on the state’s highways, while other vehicles are limited to 65 mph. Under the new bill, all vehicles would face a 65 mph speed limit.

The hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29; if the committee votes to approve the bill at that hearing, the measure will then go before the full Senate.

 The bill was introduced by Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Sparta, and was approved in the House by a vote of 86-18 on March 19. In the Senate, the bill is being sponsored by Sen. George Shadid, who is chairman of the Transportation Committee.

The bill is primarily of interest to rural parts of the state, Reitz said. Highways in the city of Chicago and its suburbs are likely to remain at 55 mph for all vehicles, as they are now.

A previous attempt to eliminate the split was killed after the Illinois State Police sent a letter to legislators just before the final vote opposing the bill. That is not likely to happen this time.

“The State Police are going to go neutral on the bill,” Reitz told Land Line last month.

If HB1186 passes, it would become effective Jan. 1, 2004.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be contacted at mreddig@landlinemag.com.