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SPRINGFIELD - Illinois lawmakers have twice sent measures to Gov. Rod Blagojevich to increase the speed limit on large trucks.

Both times the governor has vetoed the proposals.

But Blagojevich's previous roadblocks did little to discourage three-quarters of the state's lawmakers. Earlier this spring, they sent the governor yet another bill that would allow the state to boost the truck speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 65 mph.

It awaits his action.

The measure has passed both houses, but Blagojevich spokeswoman Rebecca Rausch said the governor has not yet reviewed it. Past actions would be a good indicator of how the governor might act on this proposal, Rausch added.

Depending on who you ask, a uniform speed limit would either worsen or help safety conditions on Illinois highways.

Blagojevich and other opponents of the uniform speed limit argue that faster moving trucks compound both the likelihood and severity of accidents. Proponents argue that a uniform speed limit would reduce tailgating and eliminate the need for cars to weave around slower trucks and change lanes.

More support in legislature

Because so many lawmakers back the concept, one of the measure's sponsors, state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, said he thinks it might be greeted differently by Blagojevich this year.

"It bodes well for it being approved, but the key is to educate the governor that it's good for the state," he said. "Should he not see it our way, then we'd certainly try to keep the votes we've got and override his veto."

Don Schaefer, a lobbyist for the Mid-West Truckers Association, said the studies he has seen say that a uniform speed limit is safer and that there is little his group can do differently to sway the governor.

"What else can we say?" he asked. "We are pointing to the facts, and they speak for themselves. We've tried to educate the administration on this for the last three years. The consensus is that a uniform limit is safer."

Added Schaefer: "If everyone considers the issues on the table, this is a commonsense bill."


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