Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says the proposed $1.5 billion Illiana Expressway “will not move forward at this time.” The plan to build the toll road is among a list of projects nixed by the governor in response to an unbalanced budget crafted by Illinois House and Senate Democrats. The project has been in Rauner's cross-hairs for some time. In January, he announced a spending freeze on all Illinois Department of Transportation projects, including the Illiana Expressway.
Rauner says the budget set forth by House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton for the next fiscal year is nearly $4 billion “in the hole.”
Plans for the roadway, which would connect Interstate 55 and Interstate 65 between Wilmington, Illinois and Lowell, Indiana, have already been approved by the Federal Highway Administration. That approval opened the allowed the states' transportation officials to continue seeking public and private building partners.
A statement from the Republican Illinois Governor's Office calls for any efforts on the project to stop immediately. It reads:
“Effective Immediately – In light of the state's current fiscal crisis and a lack of sufficient capital resources, the Illiana Expressway will not move forward at this time. As a result, the Illinois Department of Transportation will remove the project from its current multi-year plan. It is the determination of IDOT that the project costs exceed currently available resources. The Department will begin the process of suspending all existing project contracts and procurements.