Now armed with quick-take, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) would like to put the development and construction of the Illiana expressway on the fast track. Funding, however, is putting the brakes on the operation.
By a narrow 61-57 margin, the Illinois House passed a measure granting the quick-take tactic, which will allow IDOT to avoid lengthy stays in court to acquire private property for the 47-mile highway that will connect Indiana’s I-65 with I-55 in Illinois. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the measure into law.
“It’s an important tool that’s going to help us get the Illiana built and stimulate the south suburban economy,” Quinn spokesperson Annie Thompson told the Chicago Tribune.
Generating money to move the project, however, could be a more difficult task. Currently, only $9 million has been allocated to the enterprise to initiate a study. The Illinois portion is expected to cost almost $3 billion. Last year, the Illinois General Assembly gave the green light to explore public-private partnerships as a way to financially support the Illiana expressway. Construction could start as early as 2016.
Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) said the passage of the quick-take legislation was a “necessary evil.”