GUEST COMMENTARY: Tri-Creek Republicans oppose Illiana Expressway

2013-03-05T01:00:00Z 2013-03-05T08:31:03Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Tri-Creek Republicans oppose Illiana ExpresswayBy Dan Blankenship nwitimes.com
March 05, 2013 1:00 am  • 

The Tri-Creek Republican Committee recently voted to submit our opposition to the proposed Illiana Expressway toll road.

Much like the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Tri-Creek Republican Committee is committed to supporting policies that improve and protect living conditions of residents who live in our region — Cedar Creek, Eagle Creek and West Creek townships.

The proposed toll road will uproot hundreds of our residents, close off some of our most traveled north and south roadways, and divide or destroy much farmland. Tri-Creek Ambulance Services will be greatly impacted by this project and its plan to cut off certain throughways.

NIRPC's own 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan offers many reasons for  NIRPC members to vote against supporting the proposed Illiana toll road.

Looking at NIRPC's own "adopted purpose," we see a commitment to give policy makers the ability to "create a sustainable, vibrant regional community and quality of life for Northwest Indiana." The quality of life for our residents will be greatly impacted in a negative way by this toll road. We support the "no-build" option.

We also would like to point out NIRPC's Comprehensive Regional Plan makes reference to "land conservation," "protecting green infrastructure" and "supporting environmental justice." The environmental impact of this proposed, privately funded toll road cannot be ignored or offset by exaggerated estimates concerning job creation.

Tri-Creek Republican Committee members also wonder how anyone can accurately measure the number of commuters who will use a proposed toll road when there are so many current east/west routes currently available free of charge. Also, how can the Gary/Chicago International Airport prosper if the Illiana toll road (B3 route) is going to improve the possibility of the Peotone airport becoming a reality?

For all the reasons listed above and the many that have already been published in local editorials, letters to the editor, and Internet sites opposing the Illiana toll road, we respectfully ask all NIRPC board members to vote against moving this project forward. The impact on the environment, wetlands, wildlife, emergency services, homesteads and the people who live and farm on them is too great.

Dan Blankenship is Tri-Creek Republican Committee chairman. The opinions are the writer's.

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