Rauner nixes Illiana Expressway project from IDOT's multi-year plan

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner is nixing the controversial Illiana Expressway project as he continues to grapple with a state fiscal crisis.

The Illinois Department of Transportation will remove the project from its current multi-year plan, according to a statement from the governor's office.

"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," the statement read.

"It is the determination of IDOT that the project costs exceed currently available resources. [IDOT] will begin the process of suspending all existing project contracts and procurements," the statement continued.

The proposed tollway would run through southern Will County and connect Interstate 55 with Interstate 65 in Indiana.

The suspension of the $1.5 billion project was among a long list of projects on the chopping block.

Supporters have said the 47-mile tollway would relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 80 south of Chicago and create much-needed jobs. Critics say it’s financially risky.

The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club, a major opponent, released a statement Tuesday afternoon in response to Rauner's decision to suspend the project indefinitely.

"We're pleased that IDOT has heard the concerns of farmers, local officials and business owners. This project would not only waste taxpayer money, but would disrupt their way of life," the statement read. "We pledge to work with local citizens and leaders to plan for transportation solutions for Will County and for creating jobs while making the best use of public resources."

Rauner suspended the project earlier this year with the intent to make a final decision about its inclusion in IDOT's multi-year plan at a later date.