CHICAGO — Indiana has announced a shortlist of four private teams that will compete to work on the state's largest public-private partnership project, a $1.3 billion bi-state toll road with Illinois.

The Indiana Finance Authority and the state transportation department tapped the four out of six that responded to a request for qualifications to work on the Illiana Expressway.

The 47-mile toll highway would link Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana to Interstate 55 in Chicago's southern suburbs. Both states plan to use public-private partnerships to finance the project.

The leading firms of the four teams announced Feb. 28 are: Meridiam Infrastructure Illiana IN LLC and Walsh Investors LLC; ACS Infrastructure Development In., and Fengate Capital Management Ltd.; Cintra Infraestructuras S.A.; and Insolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V.

The state will meet with the four teams over the next few weeks to discuss the project in more detail, officials said. Indiana hopes to issue a final request for proposals this summer after winning federal environmental approval. Construction would begin in 2015.

"Indiana plans to leverage the state's credit rating to secure low-cost private financing," INDOT said in a press release. "This payment structure makes rising construction costs and the risk of operations and maintenance the responsibility of the winning private-sector team. If the road does not meet performance standards for quality, schedule, and maintenance, the recurring, inflation-adjusted payments to the private team are reduced according to the contract."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence are major supporters of the project, but it has sparked criticism from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and several Chicago area planning agencies.

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