This is an open letter to state Sens. James F. Clayborne Jr. and Martin A. Sandoval:
We, the members of the Four County Highway Coalition, respectfully ask that the legislation known as SJR 54, Southwest Illinois Connector, be moved to the Senate Transportation Committee from its current location in the Assignments Committee.
The bill asks that a task force be organized to study the feasibility of constructing a four-lane highway through the counties of Jackson, Monroe, Perry and Randolph counties.
The project will provide a safe and efficient highway, taking traffic volume and pressure off of Interstates 57 and 64, and create economic development opportunities in Monroe, Randolph, Perry and Jackson counties.
It will improve access to the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, area hospitals, the World Shooting Complex, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and other regional destinations, and address regional access by providing a key step in constructing a four lane highway between the major population centers in Southern Illinois and the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Expanding IL 3/154/13/127 is essential for the expansion of commerce in Southern Illinois and future growth and job creation opportunities.
During the past year the Four County Highway Coalition has garnered resolutions in support of the project from the counties involved and the towns and villages along the proposed route.
The area hospitals, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, World Shooting Complex, Kaskaskia Regional Port District, and many area businesses have given letters of support for the proposed road.
Our (state) senator, Paul Schimpf of the 58th District, who filed the bill and (state) Reps. Jerry Costello and Terri Bryant have been active with the Coalition and given their support.
Please move SJR 54 from its current place in the Assignments Committee to the Transportation Committee where it can be considered and approved for consideration in the Illinois Senate and House.
Marc L. Kiehna, chairman
Four County Highway Coalition