An Illinois public interest organization is raising concerns about the proposed Illiana Expressway, saying the privatized toll road that would serve mainly as a trucking corridor "may charge tolls too high to attract trucks, and will likely require hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies."
The Illiana Expressway, a public-private partnership endeavor, is cited as one of 11 highway "boondoggles" across the country in a new report by the Illinois PIRG Education Fund, which is calling on "decision makers to reprioritize scarce transportation dollars to other projects."
The report highlights the proposed 47-mile Illiana tollway, which would connect I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana, as an example of "wasteful highway spending based on its outdated assumptions of ever-increasing driving."
"The Illiana Expressway is based on the presumption that traffic in the 18 county region affected by the road will increase by .92 percent annually between 2010 and 2040, as measured in total vehicle miles traveled (VMT)," the Illinois PIRG Education Fund noted. "However, that is more than double the annual rate of increase from 2001 and 2010 (.42 percent). And, since 2010, VMT in the region has been down .49 percent annually."
Ongoing infrastructure upgrades to Illinois’
passenger and rail transportation systems face an uncertain future, as the
public-private partnership CREATE program nears the 10-year mark and has less than half of the money needed for completion.
“CREATE has been moving forward, but there’s more work to do,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D, IL-3). “This is about safety, commerce and moving passengers more efficiently, but there is a need for more funding.”
States are still learning of the ramifications of the "the largest annual
spending cut in history," also known as the compromise between Congressional Republicans and the White House. But one area sure to take a big hit: high-speed rail. With funding reduced, the Chicago-to-St. Louis project could suffer, and the possibility of a Chicago-to-New York City route may now just be a