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For Immediate Release - Openlands Releases Statement Responding to the MPO Policy Committee of CMAP Vote on Proposed Illiana Tollway

October 17, 2013


CONTACT:    Brandon Hayes
312-863-6260
312-479-0819 (m)
bhayes@openlands.org
(Media inquiries only)

OPENLANDS RELEASES STATEMENT RESPONDING TO THE MPO POLICY COMMITTEE OF CMAP VOTE ON PROPOSED ILLIANA TOLLWAY

(Chicago – October 17, 2013) Statement by Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann:

Today’s vote for the Illiana Tollway by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning ignores the principles of good governance and smart planning for our region. In voting to add the proposed Illiana Tollway to the GO TO 2040 plan, the MPO Policy Committee disregarded and upended the credibility of the CMAP board as the regional planning agency and the very tenets of the consensus-based GO TO 2040 plan.

Openlands is deeply disappointed by this decision.

The proposed tollway is far outside the bounds of the core values and regional priorities of the GO TO 2040 plan. It will lead to increased sprawl, it will cause environmental degradation, and it will destroy farmland and rural communities. Voting to include such an ill-conceived project in the regional plan is a politically motivated decision that destroys the integrity of the process of prioritizing projects based on sound data, defined need, financial feasibility and minimizing impacts to natural and cultural resources.

Transportation challenges continue to plague our region, but this tollway is not the answer. As a result of this decision, the common agreement on priorities is undermined and the region will revert to vying piecemeal for new roads. Transportation funding over the next 30 years becomes arbitrary, negating the carefully crafted comprehensive vision of the GO TO 2040 plan. This disregard for local decision making sets a troubling precedent as our local needs and regional priorities are lost.

Openlands believes that there are better alternatives to the Illiana, and we hope that future decisions will include solutions that address traffic and economic development while protecting our natural and cultural resources and facilitating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play.

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