Is The Illiana Expressway Dead?

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Supporters of the project estimated the road could help boost the region's economic output by $4 billion. Supporters of the project estimated the road could help boost the region's economic output by $4 billion.

Another roadblock has been placed in front of the proposed Illiana Expressway. The Federal Highway Administration has withdrawn its appeal of a Federal District Court ruling involving a key environmental impact decision.

The plans for the 47-mile tollway that would connect I-65 in Lowell and I-55 south of Chicago had already been in jeopardy by a series of setbacks. In June, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a statement saying the proposed $1.5 billion project "will not move forward at this time." This came after he announced in January the Illiana Expressway was on a list of proposals he would not agree to fund as part of a new state budget.

Not long after Rauner's announcement, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso struck down a 2013 Federal Highway Administration approval of the 47-mile proposed tollway. This week, the administration announced they would no longer seek to appeal the ruling.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center, who serves as lead counsel for plaintiff organizations against the project calls the plan a "boondoggle" and says it is time for the agencies behind the Illiana Expressway to end it for good.

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