Sprawl Continues With Illiana’s Inclusion In The Regional Plan
The Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee, part of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s governance, poked a billion dollars worth of holes – the estimated amount of public subsidy ranges between $400 million to over $1 billion – in the GO TO 2040 regional plan today by voting to list the Illiana Tollway as a “fiscally constrained” project even after staff found it to be highly incompatible with the plan’s focus on development near existing communities and IDOT and analysts said taxpayers would have to pay the private operator for 35 years until the toll revenues can pay the operator.
The 19-member committee vote ended up being 11 to eight. Pace suburban bus, as expected, voted to support the greenfield highway, while Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s appointees, CTA president Forrest Claypool and transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, voted against it. Metra also supported the tollway while the Regional Transportation Authority voted against. McHenry and Cook counties were the only ones of seven to vote for regional planning integrity and against the project.
IDOT’s next steps include preparing a financing package for which to receive bids, which the state legislature and governor will have to ultimately approve, and finishing the environmental review.