Kane County may contribute up to $2.5 million to the new interchange at I-88 and Route 47 in Sugar Grove, leaving village officials close to locking down all the necessary funding for the $19.7 million project.
The interchange and Route 47 widening are expected to be a major economic boon for the Sugar Grove area. County officials estimated 120 jobs would be created immediately and as many as 5,600 more jobs as the area is improved. As such, the project is a top transportation priority for the county and the village.
A county board committee granted preliminary approval Wednesday of a letter of intent among the county, village, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and Illinois Department of Transporation. The plan calls for the tollway to provide about half the cost, roughly $9.85 million. IDOT would kick in another 25 percent, about $4.93 million. That leaves 25 percent of the cost, about $5 million, for the local entities to pick up.
Kane County Deputy Director of Transportation Tom Rickert said the county may be willing to pick up a large portion of that local tab. There is already an earmark of $2 million in the agency's five-year financial plan for the project. Rickert said that amount is up for discussion, including a possible increase to $2.5 million.
"Our involvement is primarily focused on the regional significance of the interchange," Rickert said. "There is no county highway that is involved, but there is job creation that's involved with it, and a significant portion of the public that will be utilizing the exchange is in Kane County."
Rickert said he expects Sugar Grove and, possibly, a private developer would contribute the remaining $2.5 to $3 million needed for the construction.
The letter of intent also commits the village to being the lead coordinator on the project, responsible for all the preliminary engineering and securing of the funding. The tollway would be in charge of right of way, utility relocation and the awarding of contracts. IDOT and the state would maintain ownership of the roadway and interchange.
Agreeing to the letter of intent doesn't commit the county to any funding, but it would signal agreement on the direction future discussions about money should take. The full county board must still vote on the letter.
The interchange is still a couple years away from construction. Federal funding involved in the project requires a Phase 1 engineering review. The village is currently working with IDOT to begin that work. The federal funds are a portion of $51 million originally intended for the Prairie Parkway. The project lost funding when a lawsuit grew out of revelations that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a group of land speculators made about $3 million from the land associated with the parkway. Some of that cash then went to a widening of Route 47 in Grundy County. The I-88 and Route 47 interchange is north of that project.