The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning policy committee voted Thursday to include the Illiana Tollway in its long-term development plan.
That step was necessary for federal funding. But it ignores the agency's own analysis that jobs and tolls are overstated and the project could cost taxpayers up to $1.1 billion.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence say the $1.3 billion roadway connecting Interstates 55 and 65 would speed goods by truck, reduce congestion and create thousands of jobs. They say private investors would pay much of the cost of construction, operation and maintenance.
Environmentalists have sued in federal court, saying endangered wildlife, critical habitat and agricultural land are at risk.