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Illiana Expressway Approved By Committee

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Plans to build a toll road connecting two interstate highways though the south suburbs and Northwest Indiana was approved by a planning committee on Thursday

The 11-8 vote moves the Illiana tollway extension project forward.

The planned roadway would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell, Ind., and Interstate 55 near Joliet.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning policy committee vote was necessary for federal funding. But it ignores the agency’s own analysis that jobs and tolls are overstated and the project could cost taxpayers up to $1.1 billion.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence say the roadway connecting Interstates 55 and 65 would speed goods by truck, reduce congestion and create thousands of jobs.

They say private investors would pay much of the cost of construction, operation and maintenance.

Environmentalists have sued in federal court, saying endangered wildlife, critical habitat and agricultural land are at risk.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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