Reps. Foster, Kinzinger, Kelly Urge CMAP To Support Illiana Expressway
Washington, DC— In a joint letter, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11), Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-2) urged the members of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) to include the Illiana Expressway in the GO TO 2040 plan.
In the letter, the Representatives urge members to support the inclusion of the Illiana, saying:
The Chicago Metropolitan Area as a whole benefits economically from its geographic location and existing transportation infrastructure. The Illiana Expressway is a necessary investment to enhance this benefit and to provide relief to the communities that currently bear the brunt of freight traffic in the region.
The letter is available here.
The full text is below:
Members of the MPO Policy Committee
C/O Chair Ann Schneider
233 South Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
Dear Committee Members:
We write in support of the inclusion of the Illiana Expressway project in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) GO TO 2040 plan. The Chicago Metropolitan Area as a whole benefits economically from its geographic location and existing transportation infrastructure. The Illiana Expressway is a necessary investment to enhance this benefit and to provide relief to the communities that currently bear the brunt of freight traffic in the region.
Over the last decade, the private sector has worked successfully alongside local government to develop significant freight infrastructure throughout the Will County area. People in the Chicago Metro area pay less for the products they buy and the items they ship because of Will County’s role as a regional freight hub. However, the Will County area pays the price of increased congestion due to its geographical location and must repair their roads and bridges more frequently than other parts of the region. That impact can be seen most clearly on I-55, I-80, and IL-53. The Illiana Expressway would relieve the pressure on these existing roads.
We understand that the funds available for large infrastructure projects are constrained. The public-private partnership (P3) proposed for the Illiana is a financing option that will reduce the investment required by the state and serve as a gatekeeper to ensure the project’s economic viability. Negotiated properly, it will reduce taxpayer risk while providing greater assurance of economic viability. Given the challenges faced by the Highway Trust Fund, the P3 proposed for the Illiana will help lead the way towards what may be the best option for the state to leverage existing resources.
It is important to note that the Illiana Expressway is not a speculative gamble on future growth, but an investment that will help manage economic growth that has already occurred. We respectfully request that you give full consideration to this project with the understanding that the freight economy in the southwest suburbs provides benefits to all.
We also recognize that all of the projects in the GO TO 2040 plan are important. The UP Northwest Improvements or the I-90 Managed lanes are valued improvements to the communities they will serve. We ask for the same consideration for the Illiana Expressway in the spirit of cooperation and collective will needed for regional planning.
We appreciate your consideration in this matter. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.
Bill Foster, Member of Congress
Adam Kinzinger, Member of Congress
Robin Kelly, Member of Congress