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Key commission OKs proposed Illiana Expressway

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A northwest Indiana planning board has voted in favor of a proposed Illiana Expressway that would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell with Interstate 55 south of Chicago.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission voted Thursday in favor of the 47-mile-long tollway, The Times of Munster reported. That move clears the way for the proposal to be submitted for final federal approvals. The plan previously had been approved by a similar Illinois board.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn both support the project, saying it would promote economic development. Critics maintain the $1.3 billion road would have minimal impact on economic development and is too costly.

Officials say if the project gets the needed federal approvals, work could begin as early as 2015.

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  • spelling correction
    desire* (not desiger)
  • And this is cheaper how?
    In recent years, residents from the southern portion of Northwest Indiana have expressed desiger for a passenger rail route that would connect them to south Chicago suburbs like Joliet, University Park, etc. The idea was shot down due to expenses. I fail to see how another highway would produce more economic development to the tune of recovering a $1.3 Billion investment than a rail line would.
    • Pence's Road to Nowhere
      So Governor Pence wants to spend $1.5 billion to connect Lowell, IN to Wilmington, IL? This will have dramatically cut the time it takes to get from Indy to Joliet by nearly 17 minutes. Great work Gov Mike!!!
    • $$$$
      Where is all the outrage from Republican/Rural/Tea Partiers about this 1 BILLION dollar un-needed road???? Why is there only outrage from these folks when the money is used to mass transit in urban areas??
    • Do you hear that?
      Its money going down the drain.

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    1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

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