More Infrastructure Investment Would Kickstart Illinois

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. This post is part of the “Frankonomics” series. Physical infrastructure investment is one of the main government expenditures that conclusively enhances … Continue reading More Infrastructure Investment Would Kickstart Illinois

Discussing the NIRPC Staff Analysis of the Illiana Expressway

Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI.

On November 27, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) uploaded its completed staff analysis on the Illiana Corridor and its consistency with the organization’s 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan (CRP). The analysis reviewed all the areas where the Illiana Expressway positively or negatively impacts the quality of life for the residents of Northwest Indiana but did not offer a direct recommendation to the NIRPC Executive Board, which on December 12 will vote on whether the project should go forward.

The analysis identified 62 unique objectives of the CRP, and found that the project is consistent with 13 of those goals, inconsistent with 8, and has mixed, neutral, or uncertain impacts on 41 other goals. Below, we at ILEPI synthesize, discuss, and critique these findings.

The 13 Consistencies

  1. Congestion management process
  2. Integrate local, regional, and national transportation systems to facilitate movement of people and freight between modes
  3. Reduce congestion on major freight and passenger routes
  4. Improve the internal connectivity of the transportation network
  5. Use and expansion of transportation and other infrastructure advantages Continue reading “Discussing the NIRPC Staff Analysis of the Illiana Expressway”

Debunking 10 Myths about the Proposed Illiana Expressway

In the past few weeks, the proposed Illiana Expressway has been subject to much criticism. Most of this criticism, however, has relied more on rhetoric and misinformation than actual fact. Below, 10 myths about the Illiana Expressway are debunked.

Myth #1: The Illiana Expressway will serve little to no purpose.

Truth: The Illiana Expressway is a proposed 47-mile toll road that would link I-55 in Will County, Illinois to I-65 in Lake County, Indiana. The corridor is intended to primarily benefit the heavy-trucking industry in the short run, servicing the growing intermodal freight system in south Chicagoland. Diverting trucking traffic from I-80, I-90, and Route 30, however, relieves congestion and benefits commuters and families. One southern Chicagoland government official told me that “to those of us who live with the truck traffic congestion on local roads with the related increased costs of maintenance and public safety issues, the need is far more obvious” than to those outside of southern Chicagoland.

Additionally, the expressway will have long-term transportation benefits, as the population of Will County is expected to grow by 548,000 (CMAP) to 695,000 (IDOT) people by 2040. The Illiana Expressway is a forward-thinking project that will be vital to these future families, businesses, and visitors. Finally, the likely construction of the South Suburban Airport (often called Lincoln National Airport), which also is projected by CMAP to generate 7,737 direct jobs and 42,739 additional jobs, only raises the need for the Illiana project.

Myth #2: The Illiana Expressway will unnecessarily burden taxpayers. Continue reading “Debunking 10 Myths about the Proposed Illiana Expressway”

What We’re Working On

The Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) is currently engaged in providing ongoing support for the Illiana project to be constructed in addition to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) priority projects. The Illiana project would create good jobs, grow the Illinois economy, and plan for Illinois’ future. Among other projects, ILEPI is also currently analyzing the Illinois “Road Fund” and the declining allocation of resources to the fund, evaluating the benefits of doing business in Illinois (as opposed to focusing strictly the costs of doing business), and developing an Economic Gameplan for Illinois for long-term economic success. Please stay … Continue reading What We’re Working On