Illinois Transportation Secretary, State and Local Officials Discuss Proposed Illiana Expressway and Upcoming MPO Policy Committee Vote
WILMINGTON – Transportation Secretary Ann L.
Schneider was joined by Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights),
Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill), Rep. Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest),
Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr., and other officials
Wednesday near the site of the proposed Illiana Corridor to
discuss the importance of this public-private partnership
project to the Will County and south suburban region. The
project will be the subject of a crucial October 17 vote by the
region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee,
whose members will decide if it should be included in the
organization's long-range transportation plan and therefore make
it eligible for federal funding.
“The Illiana is among the top three projects in
the GO TO 2040 regional transportation plan in terms of job
creation, congestion relief and economic output,” Secretary
Schneider said. “Will County is a regional, national, and
internationally significant inland port that continues to grow.
This region’s prosperity was built upon the movement of freight,
and the Illiana is precisely the type of strategic
transportation investment that we need to make here.”
The Illiana project will have huge economic and
transportation benefits for Chicago Southland. It is strongly
supported by more than 40 communities, Will County, the
governors of Illinois and Indiana, business owners, labor
organizations and thousands of other stakeholders across two
states. The Illiana will create better ways to distribute the
region’s goods; welcome new investment from businesses that
depend on good transportation; and make it easier, safer, and
more energy-and-time-efficient to travel throughout Illinois and
Indiana. In addition, it will create both short and long-term
employment for thousands, all with low risk for taxpayers.
The comprehensive studies about Illiana that
have been done by the Illinois and Indiana Departments of
Transportation and their international consultant teams, and
reviewed by the U.S. Transportation Department, offer the best
analysis of the project. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for
Planning staff have offered a simplistic and misleading
analysis, and based on this have indicated their opposition to
“The Illiana process should move forward – let
stakeholders, agencies, officials at all levels, and bidders
decide if it’s a good project,” Secretary Schneider said.
The Illiana Expressway will be a 47-mile access
controlled highway that extends from I-55 in Illinois on the
west to I-65 in Indiana on the east. The preferred corridor is
located in Will County in Illinois and Lake County in Indiana.
When built, the Illiana Corridor Project will provide $1 million
in daily congestion relief and reduce the strain of truck
traffic on local roads, thereby improving safety, travel times
and job accessibility. Potential economic benefits include the
creation of long term jobs that equate to $1.3 billion in wages.