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Obama Expressway? State Rep wants to rename section of I-55 for former President

By Shannon Antinori,

It’s been just more than a month since President Barack Obama left office, and already one Illinois lawmaker wants to rename a section of one of the state’s busiest highways after the 44th president.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) on Wednesday announced legislation that would rename a stretch of I-55 after the former president. The section of I-55 from Lakeshore Drive to the Tri-State Tollway is currently named after Adlai Stevenson, a former Illinois governor and presidential candidate. Ford’s proposal would rename the rest of the 270-mile stretch of I-55 from the Tri-State to East St. Louis after Obama.

“Barack Obama adopted Illinois as his home, becoming a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago and a professor of law at the University of Chicago,” Ford said in a statement. “Twenty years ago, on Jan. 8, 1997, Barack Obama was sworn in as an Illinois state senator, his first public office. We can imagine that then state Senator Obama made many trips between Springfield and Chicago on Interstate 55, so it is very fitting that we rename Interstate 55 as the Barack Obama Expressway.

Ford said he is drafting legislation to rename the roadway after Obama. Another bill was filed last month in Springfield to designate I-294 the “President Barack Obama Tollway,” but so far no action has been taken on it, ABC 7 reported.

Ford’s proposal isn’t the only move by Illinois lawmakers to honor Obama. Earlier this month, three Illinois lawmakers introduced separate bills that would make the former president’s birthday, Aug. 4, a state holiday.

Ford represents the 8th District, which contains parts of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and portions of Berwyn, Brookfield, Forest Park, La Grange, La Grange Park, North Riverside and Oak Park.

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