A bill to authorize private groups to build and operate the Illiana Expressway in Indiana as a toll road is on the governor’s desk.
On March 2, the state’s Senate voted unanimously in favor of House changes to a bill that would authorize private investors to build and operate the Illiana Expressway for tolls. Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to sign the bill, SB382, which would not require a privatized toll road. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn supports considering a public-private partnership for the roadway.
If signed into law, SB382 would pave the way for tolling and privatization. It would authorize a public-private partnership to complete the proposed Illiana Expressway, which would provide a route to bypass the heavily congested Chicago-Gary, Ind. corridor.
A 2009 study estimated the roadway cost at $1 billion through a combination of private and public funds. The study estimated heavy truck tolls could be as much as $16.80 for the expressway’s entire length.
Indiana law prohibits tolling or privatizing the proposed roadway without approval of the state General Assembly. Planned as a 23-mile state highway meeting interstate standards, the roadway would link I-65 in northwest Indiana with I-57. About 10 miles of the roadway would be built in Indiana. Construction probably wouldn’t begin before 2017.
The bill also contains a provision that would also allow a public-private partnership for Ohio River bridges connecting Indiana and Kentucky.