The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled against environmental
groups that were seeking to stop a proposed 47-mile highway between Illinois
Law and Policy Center initially filed the lawsuit in 2014 against the
Illinois Department of Transportation, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for
Planning and the Metropolitan Planning Organization. The center filed the
suit on behalf of the Sierra Club and Openlands.
tollway, known as the Illiana Tollway project, would create a new east-west
link between Interstate 55 near Wilmington, Illinois, and Interstate 65 near
groups were seeking to protect the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie since
the proposed route was near its southern border, according to court records.
Department wanted to add the project to the GO TO 2040 long range
transportation plan in 2013 and 2014. The Metropolitan Planning Organization
voted to include the project. But the lawsuit challenged the move, saying
the organization needed approval from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for
Planning first. The Agency for Planning had voted to exclude the project
from its regional plans.
The appellate court
ruled last month that the boardís approval was not mandatory, The Daily
Southtown reported . The court said that since the Planning Organization was
created by federal law, the Agency for Planning has no authority over it.
Law and Policy Center plans to appeal the decision, said Howard Learner, the
centerís executive director.
Gov. Bruce Rauner
put the project on hold in January 2015.
government has ruled that the proposed toll roadís Environmental Impact
Study isnít valid. The state Transportation Department will need to correct
the study, but hasnít yet submitted a revised report, Learner said.