Maybe their invitation got lost in the mail.
The Illinois Department of Transportation yesterday named 41 people to a new Freight Advisory Council that will advise the department on how to maintain and even improve Illinois’ position as the freight hub of the nation.
Included are a broad range of private- and public-sector officials, including executives from Caterpillar Inc., the Illinois Petroleum Council and CenterPoint Properties, plus Chicago Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur, IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider and Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
Not on the list is anyone from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, this area’s official gatekeeper for federal transportation money, which last time I looked had something to do with the movement of freight. So, what’s up?
It’s strictly happenstance with no slight intended at all, says an IDOT spokesman. “This has more of a statewide focus and is primarily seeking input from the private sector,” he continued, adding that, after all, Illinois has 11 official MPOs, or metropolitan planning organizations, in federal lingo.
Of course, none of the other 10 represents an area with almost 10 million people. And none of them vehemently opposed IDOT’s prized proposed Illiana Expressway, as CMAP did with vigor, charging that the road never will pay for itself. Beyond that, it’s surely a fluke that Will County strongly pushed for the road, which would be near CenterPoint’s Joliet Arsenal property. And it’s probably not worth mentioning that the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, which accused CMAP of being biased against the suburbs, has a seat on the panel, too.
Golly, it just has to be one of those things, I guess. Don’t you just love a good coincidence?
Full story here.
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