The Federal Highway Administration has abandoned its appeal of a ruling that jeopardizes the future of the controversial Illiana expressway, a proposed 47-mile tollway connecting Illinois' I-55 to Indiana's I-65. The project is set to be built via a public-private partnership.
No reasoning was given for the agency's decision to backtrack on the appeal, which challenged a federal judge's ruling that the government's December approval of the $1.5 billion expressway violated U.S. environmental law and was "arbitrary and capricious." The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups arguing that the federal government greenlit the project based on inaccurate information, including "inflated population, employment and traffic forecasts." Critics of the expressway say it is a boondoggle that will cost taxpayers money and needed farmland.
Upon taking office in January, Gov. Bruce Rauner postponed the project indefinitely via executive order, citing the need for a cost-benefit analysis prior to moving forward with the proposed tollway.