U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) is urging more Illinoisans to get behind the proposed Illiana Expressway. The planned toll highway would connect I-55 and I-57 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana, mainly to reduce truck traffic on I-80. It still has to be approved by some officials in Indiana before construction can begin. The road would be designed, built, and operated by private contractors, and Kirk believes those are the sort of partnerships Illinois has to make to complete these sorts of projects.
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“We’re faced with gridlock in Washington,” Kirk said, “and if we let gridlock in Washington happen, then our states might miss out on needed infrastructure upgrades. So our view is to just move ahead in any way possible.” The Illinois Department of Transportation got approval to start seeking private bidders in October. If Indiana officials give the highway a thumbs up, then land purchases can begin next year.