One of the final hurdles has been knocked over.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s attempt to move forward with the Illiana Corridor, a 47-mile toll road that would link I-55 near Wilmington, Ill., with I-57 near Peotone, Ill., and I-65 near Lowell, Ind., has stumbled following a rejection from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The board is made up of representatives from the seven-county region of Chicago as well as the city of Chicago. Another key regional group will vote on the project next week, and rejection there could kill the project.
The CMAP said the $1.3 billion project would be a financial risk, and did not think it fit its own strategic plan, called GO TO 2014. There also are charges of political bullying. CMAP Chairman Gerald Bennett accused Gov. Quinn of applying an extreme amount of political pressure, and said the Illiana Corridor is “a political plan that has been dropped on us by the governor.”
CMAP also claims the Illinois DOT, which owes CMAP more than $2 million, has been withholding federal money from the agency due to the lack of support for the Illiana Corridor.
Gov. Quinn and the Illinois DOT have both denied any wrongdoing. “The project was being pushed on its own merits and not by political pressure,” Sean O’Shea, Quinn’s deputy chief of staff, said.