The Illiana Tollway project is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s policy committee voted 11 to 8 in favor of the 47-mile expressway connecting I-55 near Wilmington and I-57 near Peotone with I-65 near Lowell, Indiana. The next step will be to complete the planning of the expressway in order to begin soliciting bids from private investors to partner with Illinois.
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“I think others would agree that this is an opportunity for us to start trying to find ways to leverage private investment to make necessary transportation investments to help keep Illinois globally competitive and growing,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.
Supporters claim the tollway will create 28,000 permanent jobs. Opponents of the expressway say that estimate has been inflated, while also expressing concerns about the projected costs and the route’s effectiveness in reducing truck congestion on I-80.
Schneider says concerns about costs are why the private sector partnership is necessary, adding that if the state doesn’t receive viable bids from investors, the Illiana would not be built.