Sprawl Continues With Illiana’s Inclusion In The Regional Plan

Elliott Hartstein
Elliott Hartstein defends the regional planning process which he says the Illiana Tollway harms. Hartstein is a member of the CMAP Board and represents CMAP on the MPO Policy committee.

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.

Virginia Hamman brings 4,000 petitions against proposed farmland-destroying tollway
Virginia Hamman presents the 4,000 signatures against the Illiana and speaks in support of farmland that once paved cannot be farmed again.

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.

Greg Hinz has more insight on the vote before and after to the meeting. We will have more details tomorrow.

  • Tom Hagglund

    Ugh. They voted for cars, sprawl & paving over fertile farmland, and against sustainable density and public transportation. We still haven’t figured out that it’s a new century.

  • Eager to see any analysis on which contractors or other companies had an influence on the votes…

    Ugh :/ so backwards.

  • Chicagio

    Great reporting guys, keep fighting the good fight.

  • hello

    This blows. How could Metra justify their vote for this. It just shows that that agency needs to be gutted-they do not truly wish to serve their role in the transportation system. They exist for patronage.

  • Thanks. It’s hard to sit there for 3 hours.

  • Next time bring a seat donut.

  • Adam Herstein

    Yeah, not surprised by this at all. Although, I was hoping for a vote against…

  • FredD

    “Full speed ahead” says the captain and his minions on the bridge of the TITANIC. What could possibly go wrong? Were unsinkable!! They have the maps to a workable solution…Hypotenuse, the cure for the Illiana fever. Demand resignations!!!

  • Anonymous

    It’s not that it’s sprawl, it’s that it’s stupid, nonsensical waste.

  • Anonymous

    Or how the owners of the land which will be purchased to build this unnecessary highway are connected to those who voted to build it. Or how recently any of those parcels of land were sold to new owners who knew they’d be profiting further down the road if this were approved (along w/ the Peotone airport).
    I’m not sure any of which I’ve suggested is true, but there are always behind the scenes connections in these deals. Much like how the new-ish Denver Airport was built 25 miles away from the city – the people who decided where it would be built were pretty much the ones who owned the land.

  • Mishellie

    OR just donuts. For the eating of the feelings.

  • IDOT is hilarious. From the Tier 2 Scoping Summary Report:

    “Land-use planning is not the role of IDOT/INDOT… They will meet with communities on future land use planning and use that for input into the corridor-wide plan. IDOT/INDOT is not driving land use; rather they are helping locally as needed.”

    Whether it’s deliberate or not, IDOT/INDOT are doing land-use planning.


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