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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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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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