Today’s vote by the CMAP board to reject the proposed Illiana expressway is the right decision for the Chicago region, and a victory for good planning for our future. The Illiana expressway threatens to pull scarce tax dollars out of other transportation projects in existing communities, increasing the pollution that threatens our health and contributes to climate change. The Illiana would pave over some of the best farmland on the planet, bring truck traffic through the heart of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and pollute the Kankakee River watershed, degrading clean drinking water supplies for Kankakee and Will County.
CMAP’s long range plan for our region, Go To 2040, is all about avoiding wasteful mistakes like the Illiana, and instead investing our public dollars in existing communities, expanding transit, protecting open space, and maintaining our current infrastructure. Achieving these goals is critical to our quality of life and our future, and we applaud CMAPs defense of these goals in rejecting the Illiana proposal.
Next week the CMAP’s MPO Policy Committee is expected to make the final decision on the Illiana next week. We call on members of the MPO Policy Committee to affirm the decision of the CMAP board, and reject the Illiana expressway and the damage it would do to our shared vision of a better, healthier Chicago region.