Separate P3s for ‘Illiana’

A cross-state toll road has been split into two mandates.

Procurement of a ‘mega-project’ to lay down a toll road stretching from Illinois to Indiana will oblige both US states to lean on their own enabling public-private partnership (PPP; P3) legislation.

The Midwestern neighbours will separately use P3s to deliver their respective shares of the cross-state ‘Illiana Corridor', a 47-mile greenfield controlled access highway conceived to effectively adjoin suburban Chicago with northern Indiana.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), together with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA), announced that each state will release Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) for Illiana in the autumn.

The design, build, finance, operate, and maintain (DBFOM) concessions would combine to link Interstate 55 (I-55) in Illinois to Interstate 65 (I-65) in Indiana. The RFQs will detail subsequent Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for both mandates, as well as their expected commercial and financial closes.

Illinois and Indiana will “work together to coordinate schedules,” the announcement said. A projected cost for Illiana overall, or the value of the P3s separately, was not mentioned. Neither Will Wingfield, spokesman with IDOT, nor Jae Miller, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, replied to emails seeking comment.

The two states in the spring jointly published a Request for Information (RFI) to the private sector to vet its appetite for the Corridor, which conceptually got off the ground in 2007. It could not be determined if the subsequent feedback from the RFI led to the decision to split the project into two P3s, rather than a single concession.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) gave Illinois and Indiana permission to pursue the project. In 2010, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn and then-Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed laws into effect letting their states procure Illiana as a P3. Both states have existing toll road P3s in effect.

The Illiana Corridor is the latest bi-state transportation infrastructure mega-project located in the US Midwest: the Ohio River Bridges Project between Indiana and Kentucky resulted in Indiana implementing the East End Crossing P3.