Murphysboro….State Representative Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) announced this week that she will serve as a member of the Southwest Illinois Connector Task Force. Bryant thanked House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for the appointment.
“I want to thank Leader Durkin for appointing me to this task force, Bryant said. “Our charge will be to study the feasibility and possible cost of building a four-lane highway from Carbondale to St. Louis. I have joined with Rep. Jerry Costello II and with Senator Paul Schimpf to create this Task Force that will consist of members of the legislature as well as appointees from IDOT and the 4 Counties that make up the Four-Lane Highway Coalition.”
Bryant says she has attended several meetings of the Four Lane Highway Coalition, led by Dr. Mark Kiehna, and other local elected officials over the past two years. Bryant says she has already learned a great deal from the meetings. Supporters have argued that a four-lane connector from Carbondale to St. Louis would lead to increased economic activity due to a quicker, easier route to St. Louis. Opponents have argued that the cost would be significant, and would likely result in some people having to sell parts of their properties along any proposed route.
Pending approval, the proposed four-lane highway is likely to travel throughout four counties in southwest Southern Illinois from Carbondale to St. Louis: Monroe, Randolph, Jackson, and Perry Counties. Bryant, who represents areas in Jackson and Perry Counties, says that the purpose of the task force will be study both the supporters wishes and opponents’ worries.
“People have legitimate hopes and legitimate concerns on both sides of the road on this issue so to speak,” Bryant said. “We are going to listen, as a General Assembly, and study whether the possible economic benefits would outweigh concerns over eminent domain. We want to study a possible route, find out which landowners could be impacted, and deliver a comprehensive report. That is my commitment as a member of the task force and I’m looking forward to getting going.”
Legislation creating the Southwest Illinois Connector Task Force passed during the 100th General Assembly via Senate Joint Resolution 54. You can view the full text of SJR 54 by clicking here.