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Illinois raises interstate speed limit; Wisconsin not expected to follow suit

Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio

Illinois raised its rural Interstate speed limit to 70 miles per hour on Wednesday, a move that Wisconsin isn't expected to adopt anytime soon.

With Illinois raising its Interstate speed limit to 70 mph, Wisconsin will become an island of sorts: Neighboring Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa already have speed limits of 70 mph for cars on rural Interstates.

The state Assembly voted 63-32 to change that, passing a bill that would raise Wisconsin's Interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 mph. But other state government leaders have not shown interest in the plan. Gov. Scott Walker won't even talk about it: “Again, for me, like a lot of these other bills, it just hasn't been on my radar.”

The bill is fairly straightforward: It would give the state six months to raise the speed limit and allow for a lower speed limit for commercial vehicles. Still, Walker has been quiet on where he stands, saying he's more focused on issues like worker training, Medicaid and property tax relief. “I try not to get caught up in all the other bills that are out there,” he says.

Whether or not Walker supports the speed limit bill, it's unlikely to reach his desk this session. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told the Associated Press recently that the bill does not currently have enough support to pass the Senate.

No organizations have reported lobbying in favor of the plan in Wisconsin. The insurance industry has fought the issue on the national level, arguing that faster traffic leads to more severe accidents.