Governor Mitch Daniels and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today committed to moving forward with the proposed Illiana Expressway now that laws have been approved in both states to pursue public-private financing options to build it.
The governors signed a Memorandum of Understanding that says the states agree to work together to construct the Expressway, which would connect Interstate 65 in Lake County with Interstate 55, in Will County, Illinois.
"In Indiana, we believe great infrastructure means more jobs. We're in the middle of the biggest road building boom in Indiana history and the Illiana project is its next natural extension," said Daniels. "Safer roads, less congestion and countless new jobs make this a huge step forward for the entire region."
Studies show the Illiana Expressway would bring significant economic development, safety and mobility benefits to the region. It is estimated the Illiana would prevent 350 to 400 vehicle crashes annually.
Quinn also signed new Illinois legislation, similar to Indiana's Senate Enrolled Act 382, approving private financing for the project.
"Today is a milestone in our efforts to build the Illiana Expressway," said Governor Quinn. "The new expressway will open an era of bi-state collaboration and provide a crucial economic boost for both states. This is a significant achievement for northeast Illinois, which will create thousands of jobs and bring economic development benefits to this area."
The next step will be completion of environmental studies that ultimately will result in a recommendation for a specific route for the Expressway. Daniels also said the states will simultaneously begin to explore marketplace interest in creative financing for the project that the two bills make possible. The environmental studies should be completed in two to three years.
Here is a link to the Memorandum of Understanding: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/Illiana_MOU.pdf