June 02, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Environmentalists Support Next Steps to End the Illiana Tollway Boondoggle
Governor Rauner and the Illinois Department of Transportation have taken a positive step forward today by “suspending all existing project contracts and procurements” and removing the proposed new Illiana Tollway project from IDOT’s multi-year transportation plan.
“This is a key step forward to end the proposed boondoggle Illiana Tollway. This is great news for Illinois taxpayers, sound regional planning and for protecting the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie,” said Howard Learner, ELPC’s Executive Director. “Let’s focus the state’s limited transportation resources on much higher priority highway, rail, transit and bridge improvements.”
“The death of the ill-conceived Illiana Tollway is a victory for both sound planning and natural treasures like Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie,” said Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann. “There are legitimate transportation needs in our region. Now that the Illiana is behind us, we look forward to partnering with local communities and industries to forge a sound transportation solution.”
“We’re pleased that IDOT has heard the concerns of farmers, local officials and business owners,” said Erica Dodt, Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “This project would not only waste taxpayer money, but would disrupt their way of life. We pledge to work with local citizens and leaders to plan for transportation solutions for Will County that create jobs while making the best use of public resources.”
Learner described the important follow-up actions necessary to complete ending the proposed new Illiana Tollway. “It’s now time for IDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to withdraw their prior approvals of the Records of Decision approving the Final Environmental Impact Statements for the proposed Illiana Tollway because the Governor has made clear that there is no funding available. Governor Rauner’s Executive Order 15-08 froze the proposed Illiana Tollway in mid-January. Now, it’s time to pull the plug on the boondoggle Illiana Tollway once and for all.”