Governors of Illinois, Indiana sign MOU to advance Illiana Expressway
By Peter Samuel
Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois was joined by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels today in signing legislation authorizing Illinois collaboration with Indiana to build the Illiana Expressway as one or more toll concessions or P3s. The new east-west pike to the south of, but parallel to I-80/94, is planned to go from I-55 in Will County southwest of Chicago through Peotone south of Chicago, across I-57 and eastward into Indiana to I-65.
A general corridor has long been envisaged in transportation plans but no detailed route is yet selected or permitted. No full traffic and revenue study has been conducted either.
The MOU commits the two states to collaboration in "preliminary engineering, modeling, forecasting, planning and permitting necessary to deliver the proposed Illiana Expressway."
The states agree to share the cost of necessary NEPA (federal permitting) studies and preliminary engineering.
The highway has been described as 53 miles or 56 miles in length (85km, 90km) and as costing anywhere between $2.9b an $6b. Our map below is a somewhat longer route of our creation.
The Illinois governor's office said today:
"The new Illiana Expressway will also provide much needed access to Will County's burgeoning freight and logistics centers and create more jobs in Will County to serve its fast-growing residential population."
"With its central location, the Chicago region serves as the nation's largest freight hub, with over one third of all freight traffic passing through the region. The freight industry generates more than $8 billion per year for the local economy, but congestion has threatened the region's competitive advantage. Local planners have identified the Chicago Southland as an ideal location for cargo-oriented development, due to the existence of both waterways and rail intermodal yards. The Illiana Expressway will allow for more efficient movement of goods between transportation modes, while attracting new logistics and manufacturing companies looking to gain greater access to the marketplace."
Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig is quoted:
"Will County is the fastest growing county in Illinois, currently accounting for nearly half of the state's overall population growth. Transportation is the key to sustainable growth in the region."
Illinois Senate Bill 3659 signed today by Governor Quinn puts into state law the Public Private Agreements for the Illiana Expressway Act. It allows IDOT to enter into one or more public private agreements with one or more contractors to develop, finance, construct, manage, or operate the Illiana Expressway on behalf of the state.
Indiana has long championed its portion of the highway and has legislation in place for toll concessions to implement the project. Indiana sponsored a traffic and revenue study from I-65 to I-57 two years ago. Conducted by Cambridge Systematics the study suggested light car traffic but heavy truck traffic. CS also found heavier traffic on routes further north, and lighter traffic likely on southern alternatives.
This year the political momentum developed strongly in Illinois to pass authorizing legislation. Illinois now wants the highway to go at least as far west as I-55.
The states have agreed today to advance planning studies in the coming months.
The MOU says: "The States commit to working together on development, distribution and evaluation of requests for proposals, on pre?project development and on continuing assessment and recommendation pertaining to the construction and operation of the proposed Illiana Expressway."
see text of MOU: