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Policy: Budgets & Deficits

Quinn wants Illiana project as top state priority

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News,Business,Illinois,Budgets and Deficits,Pat Quinn,Infrastructure,Interstate Highways

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn's administration wants lawmakers to make the proposed Illiana Expressway more attractive to private investors by guaranteeing toll revenue shortfalls will be covered by dipping into the state's road fund ahead of other projects.

The 47-mile tollway between Indiana and Illinois would be placed at the top of the funding list under draft legislation backed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

That's intended to sweeten a potential deal for the $1.5 billion road that some lawmakers and regional planners contend is not a critical need and will become a financial drain.

Democratic Rep. Jack Franks calls it a "blatant political move" by Quinn to score votes in November's election.

Quinn's representatives deny that. Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the area's traffic congestion demonstrates there's already a clear need.

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