News Local/State

IDOT Defends $1.3B Illiana Expressway Before Vote


Illinois' transportation secretary is defending the proposed $1.3 billion Illiana Expressway against criticism that it's a risky investment.

Ann Schneider told the The Associated Press on Tuesday that over the course of the proposed 35-year partnership with a private investor, the tollway could generate up to $500 million in profit for Illinois. She said that would be reinvested in other projects.

Besides an estimated 9,000 construction jobs, Schneider says the link between Indiana and Illinois could attract intermodal shipping facilities to the area south of Chicago in rural Will County.

A vote on Thursday by the region's planning agency will determine if the project moves ahead.

Illinois has already spent $40 million studying the project. Schneider said upfront costs could reach $300 million and it could take 18 years to break even.