The faster a north-south road is built to connect Interstate 55 and Interstate 74 on Bloomington-Normal's east side the better.
Delays such as the one caused by the McLean County Board's Transportation Committee this week serve no purpose.
The committee's inaction delays a study of the best route for the road. It also keeps in limbo those residents whose properties may be affected.
On a 3-3 vote, the committee of County Board members did not advance an agreement calling for the county, Bloomington and Normal to come up with $300,000. That local match would be used to get $800,000 in federal money to study the best route for the highway. The road would eventually connect with Interstate 55 near Towanda and Interstate 74 west of Downs.
Committee members wanted assurance that Bloomington was still willing to pay its share. Bloomington had stalled the process last year when council members couldn't determine the best location for the road.
Instead of stalling the financial commitment until its March meeting, the transportation committee could have adjourned, received something in writing from Bloomington and then called another meeting in days to approve the agreement. That would move it on for a vote by the full County Board. You would think having the road on the city's comprehensive plan, approved in October, would have been sufficient evidence of Bloomington's support.
Besides, it takes agreement among all three units before the commitment is honored.
The study is for engineers to tell the county and cities the best location for a 300- to 350-foot right of way for a limited-access highway. The right of way would be somewhere within a 2,500-foot corridor identified by regional and city planners and Twin City officials.
The corridor would run one-quarter to one-half mile east of and parallel to Towanda-Barnes Road for most of its length.
Last week, another County Board committee refused to put the corridor on its comprehensive plan. That may have appeased some property owners who don't want restrictions on use of their property prior to construction of a highway. But it won't give some of those people total control over their property or stop construction of a road. The city has a say over zoning within 1½ miles of its borders. If residents build in the path of the road, their property could be taken through eminent domain laws.
We would encourage Bloomington to get a written commitment to the Transportation Committee immediately. The committee can then meet in special session to forward the funding agreement to the full County Board and get this project moving.
Even though some residents may not like the idea of a new road, if it is to be built they deserve to know its location as soon as possible.