Could Cairo Become The Largest City In The US?

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Wednesday, January 3, 2001

from the i-would-stay-off-the-interstates dept.

CAIRO, IL -- In what city leaders are calling a "stroke of financial genius", Cairo has annexed its city limits to include over 1,200 miles of highways in Southern Illinois. The city plans to use the new territory to dish out traffic tickets to unsuspecting motorists, a policy that should rake in nearly $1.4 billion annually.

This unprecedented move comes on the heels of a lawsuit over whether city police can give tickets to motorists on I-57 in an area that may or may not have been within city limits.

"We've solved that problem," explained Deputy Mayor Hendrickson. "And it gave us a wonderful idea... if we're already making $300,000 from ticketing out-of-state losers on Interstate 57, why not make billions from ticketing out-of-state losers on Interstate 24, Interstate 64, US Highway 51, State Highway 3, and hundreds of other roads in this region?"

"It's all about safety," police officer Lt. Crenshawton explained. "Think of the millions of tickets we can hand out to speeders, to people who fail to use their turn signals, to people who look at me funny... And of course all of these people will be from out-of-state, so they won't have the opportunity to contest their tickets in court! We'll save a lot of lives with this!"

How was the city able to annex 1,200 miles of land in a matter of a few days? By playing poker. An obscure state law, dating back to the early 1800s, allows one city to challenge another city to a poker game, in which the winner will gain annexation rights to the loser's land. Suffice it to say, one person in Cairo's city government is quite the card shark, and handily beat players from Carbondale, Marion, Anna, Murphysboro, Vienna, and many other towns along busy, lucrative highways.

"We didn't want all of their land," said the Deputy Mayor. "We just wanted to expand our city limits to include highway frontage and billboards behind which our patrol cars could hide. We also picked up a few gas stations and hotels, which should add to our tax base, not that we'll really need it now. Who needs a sales tax when you have a tax on poor drivers?"

He added with a grin, "It's like a big game of Monopoly, and Cairo is the clear winner," he added happily. "And we're not finished yet."

The Missouri town of Delta is also trying to edge in on this bizarre game. Delta, which has had its own share of controversy over traffic tickets, hopes to turn its fortune around.

"This is going to be great," an anonymous town official said. "With this fortune that we'll get from patrolling Interstate 55, Highways 60, 61, 67, 160, 25, 51, and others, we'll be able to pave our streets in gold! Of course, gold streets have a low amount of friction, which causes people to drive faster -- and ka-ching we'll have even more money flowing in."

Delta has already cut all of the red tape necessary to annex Highway 25 up to Dutchtown. That stretch of road, which was recently upgraded to a 60 m.p.h. speed limit, is now down to 45.

With Delta's hyper-annexation policy, the sky is the limit. One town employee stated, "If we successfully annex all of the major highways in Missouri, we could have more square miles than New York City! And who said our city limits had to remain within Missouri? Arkansas, here we come!"

If Delta's plan reaches fruition, your next map of Southeast Missouri might look something like this:

[New City Limits Map]

Naturally, other towns have caught wind of this idea and may not take it lying down. Delta could easily find itself declaring war against Cape Girardeau, Scott City, or even Advance, a battle that the small town may not be able to win.

"We sucked up Fornfelt and Illmo years ago," a city official from Scott City warned. "And we can suck up Delta if they start to get out of line. Listen here, Deltoids: Interstate 55 is ours."