Crain’s Chicago Business: Illiana suffers another big blow in U.S. court

The proposed Illiana Expressway has suffered another body blow, and this one could be fatal.

The Federal HIghway Administration moved late today to drop its appeal of a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso’s June ruling tossing out the controversial road’s environmental impact statement and record of decision and ordering road advocates to start over. That action came as a bit of a surprise.

The agency didn’t explain its action, which came in a brief “unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss appeal” that was filed with the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. But environmentalists who have opposed the road as a financial and ecological waste were ecstatic.

“The Illinois and Indiana Departments of Transportation should stop wasting taxpayers’ money on the llliana tollroad to nowhere that is contrary to sound regional planning and would damage the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie,” said Howard Learner, head of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, who served as lead counsel for several green groups who filed suit against the road.

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