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Illiana Expressway eligible for low-interest loan

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The proposed Illiana Expressway linking northwestern Indiana with Chicago's south suburbs is eligible for a low-interest federal loan for up to one-third of the cost of the $1.5 billion project, a newspaper reported Monday.

Indiana and Illinois can apply for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan for the 47-mile toll road that would run between Interstate 65 near Lowell and I-55 near Wilmington, Ill., The Times of Munster reported.

"The Illiana Corridor project is creditworthy and a good candidate for TIFIA because it improves interstate commerce," Indiana Public Finance Director Kendra York said. "Today's formal invitation is an important step in securing the lowest cost financing that will result in lower pricing from the private developer teams for both states."

Each state has selected four investment teams to bid on designing, building and operating their respective portions of the highway.

The federal loan is important because investors would be able to draw on it for their shares of the costs. The interest rate on the federal loan is tied to U.S. Treasurys, which means it would carry a lower interest rate than can be secured on the private market.

Investors would recoup their money from payments the states make once the project reaches certain milestones and from annual payment the states would make once the expressway is open to traffic.

Indiana has forecast it will spend $80 million to $110 million in upfront costs to get the road built. Illinois' upfront costs are expected to be between $450 million and $500 million. Both states hope to recoup that money later from tolls.

The two states' transportation departments are preparing a final environmental impact statement to be submitted soon for federal approval. The agencies hope to receive that approval this spring. Construction would begin in 2015.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn both support the project, saying it would promote economic development. Critics maintain the road will have minimal impact on economic development while hurting the environment.

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  • Low-interest loans
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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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