500 signatures against the Illiana Tollroad – ALMOST THERE!

Link to PETITION.

Let’s make a collective goal: 500 signatures against the Illiana Tollroad by December 31! Right now!

The PETITION I began protesting the economically, socially, and environmentally unsustainable project has 423 signatures and only needs 77 more people to sign to reach 500 total.

It would be great to have such a large number of people signing up to show their opposition to this project. Experts reasonably believe the Illiana will prove to be a huge financial burden and ultimately loss for the states of Illinois and Indiana with little to no positive economic or social benefits while hurting the region’s environment. Traffic reduction is predicted to be unreasonably low for a project of this scale (with some projections predicting congestion being reduced by a mere 1%) with few trucking companies, the primary target for this project, using the road. The road will cut through small far south suburban communities, dangerously close to protected wildlife areas, and take precious state resources from more profitable projects in Chicagoland.* Indeed, the US Public Interest Research Group (US P.I.R.G.) included it on its list of highway boondoggles.

If we want to stop this, we need to look not to Gov. Pat Quinn, but Governor-elect Bruce Rauner. He is sworn into office on January 12, 2015. Let’s make sure 500 plus signatures and a call to stop this project are amongst the first things sitting on his desk at the State House early next year. Sign the PETITION, share it with friends, and show the Governor-elect and state government that this project is unpopular, unreasonable, and harmful.

Link to the PETITION.

*While it is unclear what other projects might be hurt by lost financing to the Illiana Tollroad, I wanted to include a list of projects proposed by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which opposes the Illiana, for Chicago’s South and Southwest suburbs to demonstrate what is potentially at stake.

  • Red Line South Extension: although this project is contained entirely within the City of Chicago, the project would extend the CTA’s busiest ‘L’ line south from the current terminus at 95th Street to a location near 130th Street. Whatever the new terminus, it would regardless add 4.5-5.5 miles to the Red Line and bring many South Side and south suburban communities closer to the Loop and the region at large.
  • Metra Heritage Corridor Improvements: This project (with an estimated cost of apprx. $200 million) would add service and reduce delays and conflicts between passenger and freight trains in Southwest Chicagoland. These projects (which include CREATE projects) would be a boon for rail passengers and logistics in the region at a fraction of the cost of the Illiana Tollroad (estimated at over $700 million if not more).
  • Orange Line South Extension: Another project entirely within the City of Chicago, the Orange Line extension would extend the line south of its Midway Airport Terminus to Ford City Mall (apprx. 75th Street). Much like the Red Line though, it would bring better rapid transit closer to Southwest Side and southwest suburban communities and include improved intermodal connections via more access to Midway Airport. The project is project at a little more than half the expected contributions needed for the Illiana Tollroad.
  • The Southeast Service: This is a proposed new Metra line that would bring rail service to Chicago’s South Suburbs. With an estimated cost of $800 million it is not much more expensive than the Illiana Tollroad and provides congestion reducing rail options to Chicago’s suburbs, environmentally friendly alternatives to driving, and far less impact to local communities. The proposed route as it currently stands is from Balmoral Park to LaSalle Street Station via Crete and Gresham (see link).
  • Southwest Service and Rock Island District Extensions: both these extensions would bring more rail service to Chicago’s far Southwest Suburbs. They include many of the benefits of the Southeast Service mentioned above and together cost about the same as the expected contribution necessary for the Illiana Tollroad.

Link to the PETITION.