The Federal Highway Administration has given its stamp of approval to the Illiana Expressway.
The action, taken Wednesday, provides federal authorization for state transportation departments in Illinois and Indiana to move forward with the highway. The Illiana Expressway would stretch from Interstate 55 in Wilmington to Interstate 65 in Lowell, Indiana.
Both states can now move to an implementation phase, which lays the foundation for the continued exploration of public-private partnership opportunities for construction, maintenance and operation, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Critics have called the $1.5 billion project a “boondoggle” that could leave taxpayers with the short end of the stick if revenue projections fall short. Supporters say the planned tollway would relieve congestion on local roads and promote economic growth.
Throughout the Illiana planning process, the states and the Federal Highway Administration considered the benefits, impacts, and costs of many alternatives, as well as a host of federal policies, procedures, and regulations that guide transportation projects, according to the IDOT news release.