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updated: 12/4/2013 7:10 AM

Key Indiana panel OKs proposed Illiana Expressway

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Associated Press

PORTAGE, Ind. -- A key regional planning group has given its OK to the proposed Illiana Expressway linking northwestern Indiana and Chicago's south suburbs.

The (Munster) Times and the Post-Tribune report the transportation policy committee of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission voted 18-8 with one abstention Tuesday to add the proposed $1.3 billion, 47-mile toll road to its master plan.

The committee action set the stage for a Dec. 12 vote by the NIRPC board on including the expressway in the transportation plan. A board rejection would halt the project.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn are backing the project to promote economic development. The road would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell, about 20 miles south of Gary, and I-55 in Will County, Ill.

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