The Daily Herald does a nice job laying out the opposing positions regarding the Illiana Expressway. There seems to be a little bit of everything needed for a really contentious development debate:
1. Lots of money is at stake for building the highway.
2. Thousands of jobs for construction and in projected economic development. Perhaps more importantly, who gets to take credit for the jobs? Next, would these jobs take away from potential jobs elsewhere?
3. Questions about whether the highway is really needed to ease truck traffic.
4. Whether the highway will serve an area ripe for suburban development (southern Will County) or whether this is primarily about shipping freight.
5. Politicians from elsewhere in the Chicago region differ on whether the road is good for the region. Additionally, some argue the highway projects they support are more important and deserve the money.
6. Is there enough money behind this public-private partnership so that state taxpayers aren’t left on the hook?
All of this reminds me that building highways was probably a lot simpler fifty years ago. For those who want more highways today, it is too bad they didn’t have the foresight to construct them back in earlier eras of the interstate system.