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Cook County Councilmember Says No to Illiana

The following letter from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was acquired by Greg Hinz at chicagobusiness.com and the full story is here.

An influential civic group says the proposed Illiana expressway isn’t worth $1.35 billion.

In a surprisingly blunt assessment, the Metropolitan Planning Council says the proposed road, which would travel through the south suburbs from Interstate 80 in Illinois to Interstate 65 in Indiana, would cost as much as four times what the state projects, serve relatively few motorists and potentially drain funds from higher-priority road projects.

“The current plan for the Illiana does not demonstrate significant transportation or economic benefits in exchange for high and uncertain costs,” the council said in a statement. “MPC opposes the Illiana.”

Building the road in a public/private partnership has been a top priority for Gov. Pat Quinn, whose administration did not immediately respond to the MPC statement. But the council’s conclusions closely follow those of the staff of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the region’s official traffic cop of sorts for receiving limited federal transportation funds.

CMAP next month is to decide whether to add the proposed road to the region’s priority list or leave it off, an action that likely would kill the plan.

Among other things, the council says the roadway likely would cost much more than the projected $1.35 billion and carry only a fraction of the traffic that regular thoroughfares like Irving Park Road in Chicago and Cermak Road in Cicero do now. As a result, it concludes, the road, which has been bitterly opposed by anti-sprawl environmental groups, would have an “imperceptible” impact on the Chicago-area economy.

This is just a summary of what MPC wrote. Read the whole thing for yourself to get the details.

Meanwhile, the question remains: Will the officials who serve on the CMAP board stick with the staff, or be persuaded to go in another direction?

If you think you may be affected by the lliana Expressway and/or are interested in a free consultation, contact our eminent domain landowner attorneys at 1-888-318-3761 or visit us on the web at www.landownerattorneys.com.

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