Public, lawmakers invited to duke it out over Illiana Expressway

| 3/6/2007

A grassroots organization fighting against the construction of a proposed privatized toll road called the Illiana Expressway has organized a legislative forum Saturday, and the public is invited.

Citizens Against the Privatized Illiana Tollroad - or CAPIT - has invited elected officials and the public to its legislative forum at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 10, at the Porter County Expo Center at the junction of Indiana State Route 49 and Division Road in Valparaiso, IN.

The Illiana Expressway is a proposed 63-mile toll road that would connect Interstate 94 in Indiana with Interstate 57 in Illinois.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wants a private company to build and maintain the road. As proposed, the private company would keep the toll revenue under a long-term agreement. Daniels has drawn fire for pushing for the lease of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road to private investors from Spain and Australia in 2006.

Many land owners, area residents, truckers and motorists involved in CAPIT do not want the Illiana Expressway to happen.

"CAPIT opposes the Illiana (Expressway) for a wide variety of reasons," organizers said in a statement. "State legislators are being asked to authorize the privatized toll road by passing SB-1, even though the project has not been adequately studied."

The group is also opposed to the use of eminent domain by governments and private corporations to acquire land for a "for profit" toll road.

CAPIT leaders also organized a town hall meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Central Standard Time, Tuesday, March 6, at the Westville American Legion in Westville, IN, to formulate some public opinions to pass along to state officials.

For additional information on CAPIT, visit on the Web.

To read about the Indiana DOT's concept plan for the Illiana Expressway, visit on the Web.

Studies about the proposed route could take up to three years to complete, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation's Web site.