An Illinois Congressman has introduced legislation that would rename Interstate 57 in honor of former President Barack Obama, saying that it would be an appropriate tribute to his political career and legacy.
Rep. Bobby Rush introduced the Barack Obama Highway Act this week, which would rename the stretch of highway located within the state of Illinois after the 44th president.
“Designating the Illinois portion of I-57 as ‘Barack Obama Highway’ will be a constant reminder of President Obama’s legacy, and of how he started his historic political career – and launched his bid for the presidency – in the great state of Illinois,” Rush said in a statement. “This major interstate artery, which connects commuters, students and tourists will serve as a powerful symbol of the connection President Obama not only had with the country, but with the state he adopted as his own.”
Interstate 57 originates on its northern end in Chicago, where it branches off from the Dan Ryan Expressway just south of 95th Street. It runs for 386 miles through the heart of Illinois before ending at Interstate 55 in Sikeston, Missouri.
According to Rush’s press release, Interstate 57 is the only Chicago-area expressway that has not been formally named after an historical figure. It is also the second-longest two-digit interstate highway without an auxiliary route, according to the United States Department of Transportation.
Rush and Obama share some political history, as the long-time Congressman defeated Obama in the 2000 Democratic primary.
Obama would later win election to the United States Senate in 2004, and was elected president in 2008. He served two terms in office.
Obama has several prominent roadways named after him, including a stretch of highway in California. A stretch of Interstate 55 from the Tri-State Tollway to exit 202 near Pontiac, Illinois was renamed the “Barack Obama Presidential Expressway” in 2017.