The vision of the Illiana Corridor dates back to the 1909 Plan of Chicago by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett that included an “Outer Encircling Highway” serving northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana. Conceptual highway corridors linking Illinois and Indiana south of Interstate 80 were also studied by regional planning agencies in both states in the 1960’s and 1970’s. More recently, feasibility studies for a potential Illiana expressway were completed in 2009 by Indiana and a supplemental study in 2010 by Illinois. These showed that transportation improvements could be possible, and set the stage for formal studies, which we are now beginning.
Following completion of these studies, a memorandum of understanding was signed on June 9, 2010 by the Governors of Illinois and Indiana, which formalized the partnership between the two states for planning a potential new transportation linkage. Recently enacted legislation in both states also allows a “public private partnership” or “P3”, which allows private sector financing for constructing or operating a transportation facility.