No money, no Illiana Expressway

According to Illinois officials, the Illiana Expressway project has been halted:

Illinois Department of Transportation officials decided “in light of the state’s current fiscal crisis and a lack of sufficient capital resources, the Illiana Expressway will not move forward at this time. Project costs exceed currently available resources,” a statement from the governor said.

The move is not surprising, given Acting IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn opposed the road when he was chief of the Chicago Metropolitan Area for Planning.

“We see no evidence the Illiana would lead to sustained job creation over the long term,” Blankenhorn said in 2013. “There is potential it would expose the state to significant financial risk.”…

Rauner is feuding with Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton over the Democrats’ budget and how to solve a massive deficit.

This has been quite the controversial project and there have always been questions about the initial funding and ongoing costs. New highways are costly and Illinois doesn’t have much money to spend. Yet, now we get to find out whether this is simply another bargaining chip in the ongoing budget battles in Springfield. While we’ve seen a lot about the Chicago area politics of this expressway, what does Madigan think about it? Will the claims that the highway would be a boon for economic development be resurrected at some point?

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