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Openlands Releases Statement Responding to MPO Policy Committee on Proposed Illiana Tollway

October 9, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

Statement by Openlands President and CEO Jerry Adelmann:

Today in a transparently political vote that defied both the spirit and the procedures put in place to advance smart regional planning, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee failed to remove the proposed Illiana Tollway from its list of priority projects. Today’s vote came only 24 hours after the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) soundly rejected an update to our region’s GO TO 2040 plan because it included the tollway. While we continue strongly to contend that the MPO committee is bound by yesterday’s vote of the CMAP Board and should never have voted on whether to adopt the plan, the MPO committee broadcasted a clear message today that our collective vision to integrate transportation planning with all of the region’s planning priorities has failed. What happened today was unconscionable.  Vested interests defied the chorus of public opposition, ignored the stark warnings of the extreme financial risk to our region, and cast aside the clear will of those entrusted to make sound planning decisions. Illinois has returned to the days when political shenanigans trump sound planning. The proposed tollway remains far outside the bounds of the core values and principles of the GO TO 2040 plan adopted by a broad consensus of municipalities in our region. It will lead to increased sprawl, it will cause environmental degradation, it will destroy farmland and rural communities, and it will detract scarce funding from other critical transportation needs across the region. 

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