The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee has agreed to include the Illiana Expressway in its comprehensive regional plan called Go To 2040.
The Thursday decision to include the project in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's (CMAP) Go To 2040 plan makes the proposed 47-mile Illiana tollway, which would connect I-55 in Illinois to I-65 in Indiana, eligible for federal funding.
A motion at the MPO policy committee meeting to remove the Illiana tollway from the Go To 2040 plan was rejected.
On Wednesday, the CMAP board voted against the Go To 2040 plan containing the transportation project. The MPO policy committee, however, has final say on the matter.
Supporters of the expressway, including Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, say the project would provide local and regional congestion relief and create jobs and economic development in the Chicago area's Southland region.
But environmentalists, public transportation advocates and other opponents of the expressway call the project a "boondoggle," arguing it would consume funds that could otherwise be used for more pressing transportation needs and hurt the environment.
Read Progress Illinois' past coverage of the debate surrounding the Illiana expressway here and here.