Rauner dumps controversial Illiana Expressway project

 
 
Updated 6/2/2015 5:58 PM
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  • Gov. Bruce Rauner has nixed the Illiana Expressway amid the state's budget crisis.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner has nixed the Illiana Expressway amid the state's budget crisis. Associated Press

  • Gov. Pat Quinn and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels kicked off the Illiana Expressway with a memorandum of understanding in 2010. It's now fallen victim to the state's budget woes.

    Gov. Pat Quinn and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels kicked off the Illiana Expressway with a memorandum of understanding in 2010. It's now fallen victim to the state's budget woes. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Illiana Expressway

    Graphic: Illiana Expressway (click image to open)

Gov. Bruce Rauner has parked the Illiana Expressway amid the state's budget crisis.

The controversial proposed toll road would have connected I-65 in Indiana with I-55 near Joliet. The project was a joint one with Indiana intended as a public-private partnership.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials decided "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. Project costs exceed currently available resources," a statement from the governor said.

The move is not surprising, given Acting IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn opposed the road when he was chief of the Chicago Metropolitan Area for Planning.

"We see no evidence the Illiana would lead to sustained job creation over the long term," Blankenhorn said in 2013. "There is potential it would expose the state to significant financial risk."

CMAP estimated the expressway would cost taxpayers more than $1.1 billion.

Supporters of the road in Will County and the south suburbs along with former Gov. Pat Quinn said it would create jobs and spur economic development.

Rauner is feuding with Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton over the Democrats' budget and how to solve a massive deficit.

Indiana officials were not available for comment.

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