Illiana, Flyover: Both Based on Faulty Analysis

The Flyover? If city, state or federal officials not connected to the CTA would take a serious look at the environmental assessment and capacity claims for the Brown Line Flyover, this crazy, wildly expensive plan also would be quickly nixed.

Illiana mapJudge’s Ruling on Illiana May Be Rauner’s “Way Out”
by Richard Wronski, Chicago Tribune, 6/16/2015

From the article:

  • A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday dealt what could be the fatal blow to the proposed Illiana toll road, ruling that the federal government’s approval of the controversial project was invalid.

    The Federal Highway Administration’s 2013 endorsement of the bistate project was “arbitrary and capricious,” and in violation of U.S. environmental law, according to the decision handed down by federal Judge Jorge Alonso.

    The purpose and need for the Illiana as outlined in the project’s environmental impact statement are the result of a “faulty” analysis, the judge said, and thus the highway administration’s decision to greenlight the project is invalid.

  • The judge’s decision noted that the transportation agencies did not use the “policy-based” long-range forecasts developed by professional planners at CMAP and its counterpart, the Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

    Instead, the transportation agencies used “market-driven forecasts developed by consultants” who were hired by those agencies.

    Another key element of the ruling was the way in which the transportation agencies selected the Illiana’s corridor, from more than a dozen options, compared with a “no build” alternative.

    “In short, the purpose and need for the Illiana … identified in the (environmental impact statement) are derived directly from the faulty ‘no build’ analysis,” the ruling said, adding that the analysis “does not substantiate the purpose and need.”