In a statement to Governor Quinn today, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle voices her opposition to the Illiana Expressway project, Crains reports. Preckwinkle is one more influential person to voice their opposition to the project, whose benefits are allegedly overstated and cost underestimated. In her statement (see end of post), Preckwinkle cites the loss of 8,000 jobs in the Chicago region and 10,000 in Illinois.
The Metropolitan Planning Council also voiced its opposition to the freeway on its website, and also published a very detailed question-and-answer document about the project that thoroughly outlines valid reasons to not build the freeway, including a list of projects that could be funded if the Illiana were not built – among them an extension of Metra into Will county. Streetsblog reports that IDOT responded with a short, 4-page brochure with the standard vague responses to be expected.
The public comment period to CMAP regarding the Illiana closed earlier this week. Hopefully, CMAP rejects the Illiana for inclusion in the pre-established GO TO 2040 regional plan, a prerequisite to obtain funding for the project. Allowing agencies to insert projects into the regional plan after-the-fact is counterintuitive to the regional planning process, and permitting IDOT to do so a second time sets a bad precedent.