Senators Kirk, Coats Highlight Importance of Illiana Expressway

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CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 6, 2013. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and U.S. Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) joined today to highlight the economic importance of the proposed Illiana Expressway project, a new 47-mile highway extending from I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana. The Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation are working together to build the project as a public-private partnership where a private contractor would design, build and operate the new roadway. Illinois and Indiana are running separate procurements for each state’s segment and will pay contractors “availability payments” based on project milestones and other completion requirements.

“It’s time that Illinois embraces the infrastructure legacy of President Abraham Lincoln,” Senator Kirk said. “In order to build the 2,000-mile transcontinental railroad, Lincoln tapped private railroads to build the tracks in return for land rights. By unlocking the potential of private industry, we can deliver projects more efficiently. Particularly at a time when governments are running out of money, public-private partnerships like the Illiana Expressway can mean the difference between building a needed road now or waiting decades for traditional funding.”

“Indiana and Illinois are demonstrating that regional problems require regional solutions,” Senator Coats said. “By partnering together on the Illiana Expressway, we can solve some of our region’s biggest transportation challenges. Increasing opportunities to distribute goods made all over Indiana is good for Hoosier job creation and economic growth.”

The Illiana Expressway is expected to cost approximately $1.5 billion, with Illinois’ share at approximately $1 billion. Toll revenues for the new roadway are expected to generate between $2.4 billion to $3.8 billion over the life of the public-private partnership contract. The preferred corridor for Illiana runs through Will and Kankakee counties in Illinois, and Lake County, Indiana. The three counties are estimated to have their populations increase by more than 850,000 people over the next 30 years.

Approximately 9,000 construction jobs will be created, with $1.3 billion in wages created over a 30-year period. The Gross Regional Product is expected to increase by at least $425 million. Illiana also is expected to provide $1 million in daily travel time savings and will help truck traffic bypass the Chicago metropolitan area.

The Illinois segment of the expressway is 35 miles long with the potential for seven intersections at I-55, IL-53, Cedar/Wilton Center Road, US 45/52, I-57, IL-50 and IL-1. The Indiana segment is 12 miles with potential interchanges at I-65, US 41, and IN-55.

Sens. Kirk and Coats were joined by Will County Board member Don Moran (D-Romeoville), Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association President Mike Sturino and Operating Engineers Local 150 Financial Secretary David Fagan.

On Dec. 12, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) will vote on including the Illiana Expressway project in its long-term regional comprehensive plan – a necessary step to receive federal approval of the project. The NIRPC Transportation Policy Committee approved the plan on Dec. 3. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s MPO Policy Committee already approved the Illinois segment of the project on Oct. 17. The project is expected to be constructed from 2015 – 2018.

Source: kirk.senate.gov