House passes 'quick-take' bill for proposed Illiana tollway
Proposed path of Illiana expressway (Tribune graphics / May 23, 2012)
- Judy Lucker-Mierzwa and Gene Mierzwa have a home in rural Will County along the path of the proposed Illiana Expressway. A measure in the Illinois Legislature would allow the state to quickly seize land associated with the project. (Brian Cassella, Tribune photo / April 3, 2012)
- Local concerns the government will seize their land in Will Co., and the fast-moving proposed law behind it
- Expressway to cut through tiny town
- Highway and Road Transportation
- Illinois Department of Transportation
- Mike Bost
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- Lowell, IN 46356, USA
- Wilmington, IL, USA
Quick-take would let the Illinois Department of Transportation bypass potentially lengthy eminent domain court proceedings in acquiring private property for the proposed highway.
The roll call vote was 61-57. The Senate passed the legislation in March.
Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the measure, his office said.
“It’s an important tool that’s going to help us get the Illiana built and stimulate the south suburban economy,” Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson said.
Supporters say the measure will streamline the process so that ground could be broken for the Illiana by 2016.
There is no guarantee the Illiana will be built, however. Only $9 million has been allocated to study the project. The price tag for just the Illinois portion is estimated at nearly $3 billion.
IDOT has recommended a 47-mile corridor for the Illiana stretching from near Lowell, Ind., to Wilmington, Ill.
The General Assembly passed legislation last year calling for the Illiana to be developed as a so-called public-private partnership.
This would allow a private entity to finance, construct and operate the Illiana as a tollway, much like the Spanish-Australian consortium that leases the Indiana Toll Road and the Chicago Skyway.
The original legislation specifically ruled out using quick-take power.
The chief House sponsor of the bill passed Wednesday, Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, said he believes quick-take is a “necessary evil” to get the highway built in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, among those voting against the measure, said it was too early in the process to approve quick-take power.
“(IDOT doesn’t) know where (the Illiana) is going, they don’t know whose land will be affected,” Bost said. “This is not a standard practice.”
Other legislators oppose quick-take on constitutional grounds.
The Illinois Farm Bureau also fought the measure.
“Our members feel that ... one private entity will benefit from the taking of land from other private entities,” said Kevin Semlow, the Farm Bureau’s director of state legislation.
In a statement, IDOT said:
"The legislation passed today puts us one step closer to building the Illiana Expressway, a project we strongly support for its potential to ease congestion, create jobs and economic development in the south suburbs and improve the flow of traffic, goods and services throughout the region. We remain committed to an extensive public outreach process and working with all impacted parties to address any concerns they might have."