Illinois may name I-55 ‘Barack Obama Presidential Expressway’

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (KTVI) – A bill to name I-55 from East St. Louis to Chicago after former President Barack Obama is one step closer to reality. The joint resolution to name the highway the “Barack Obama Presidential Expressway” was approved by the Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that the bill passed committee by a vote of 6-5. Democrats approved and Republicans opposed the legislation. It now goes to the calendar order of resolutions.

This comes one week after Illinois legislators decided against making Obama’s birthday a state holiday. Legislation to make the 44th president’s Aug. 4th birthday a state holiday fell six votes short.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Sonya Harper says it would honor a man who adopted Chicago as his home and served in the Illinois State Senate.

But Rep. Steven Andersson of Geneva suggested it be honorary. The Republican floor leader says even Obama wouldn’t want the cash-strapped state to give state workers another paid day off.

He noted that Tampico native and 40th president Ronald Reagan’s Feb. 6th birthday isn’t a holiday.

The vote was 54-57. Harper used a procedure allowing another vote later.