Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Prairie Parkway off the table. Illinois will try to recycle $207 million earmark.


WASHINGTON--The controversial "Prairie Parkway" is off the table for now, a victory for west suburban anti-sprawl forces.

In 2005, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) stuffed a $207 million earmark in a federal highway bill to help pay for the road, estimated to cost $1 billion to build. The 37-mile highway would roll through Kane and Kendall Counties, linking I-80 and I-88, the Reagan Memorial Tollway.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), who replaced Hastert, said Wednesday there is "a near consensus in the area," that "the first priority for money being spent on roads is probably not in that (Prairie Parkway) corridor but rather beefing up the existing north south corridors and so on."

Since the earmark money was never spent, Foster wants to try to "reprogram" the money for other projects. Congress would have to approve, "which is normally not done, but there may be a strong enough consensus to make that happen," Foster said.



Thank you for the great news. Anti-sprawl folks like me are trying to nail Foster down on this. I am curious if he is willing to actually pursue legislation that includes a technical correction to change the legislative intent of the $207M earmark.

As the bailout bill proves, the devil is always in the details and this little detail matters.

John Laesch

Rep. Foster sets a good example, which we believe other Illinois legislators need to heed.

The days of wine and sprawl are over, and a consensus is emerging in other parts of the state as well.

Working to repair, maintain and improve as necessary our existing roads requires all our focus and resources. The costs, both fiscal and social, of building "Prairie Parkways" or "Gateway Connectors" make such projects entirely out of order.

Obviously none of you folks drive 47 to I-88 or would would be looking for this to happen.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 2, 2009 6:54 AM.

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