Illinois Official Counters Criticism About Illiana Expressway
October 16, 2013 — (AP) — Illinois’ state transportation secretary is defending the proposed $1.3 billion Illiana Expressway project against criticism that it’s a risky investment.
Ann Schneider told The Associated Press that over the course of the proposed 35-year partnership with a private investor, the tollway could generate up to $500 million in profit for Illinois. She says that would be reinvested in other projects.
Besides an estimated 9,000 construction jobs, Schneider says the link between Indiana and Illinois could attract intermodal shipping facilities to an area in rural Will County.
A vote tomorrow (Thursday) by the region’s Metropolitan Planning Commission will determine if the project moves ahead. Illinois has already spent $40 million studying the project. Schneider says upfront costs could reach $300 million and it could take 18 years to break even.
An Indiana vote on the Illiana Expressway project is scheduled before the NIRPC board on December 12.