Gov. Pat Quinn was in East St. Louis on Thursday to break ground for a $7 million transportation project that will serve the future Port of East St. Louis.
A $5 million contribution from the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, along with $1.25 million from the port's developers, will be used to build a road, rail lines and utilities to serve the port. When finished, the work will allow full access to the site by truck, train and barge, Quinn said.
"It's all about location in the shipping industry, and East St. Louis is ideally situated to ship and receive goods by truck, rail or river," Quinn said. "The Port of East St. Louis will be a major economic driver for the metro-east region, and I'm proud to get the ball rolling by constructing road and rail access to this facility."
East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks said: "Thanks to the state of Illinois assistance, East St. Louis and Slay Industries/Kinder Morgan are partnering to bring long-term, sustainable, good-paying, green jobs to the community," East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks said. "The collaboration is also setting up a world-class transportation network for moving freight. This is one of the city's most important developments in decades."
State Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, said East St. Louis "has the potential to become a hub of business and industry once again. This kind of investment in the future of the community shows the state's dedication to create jobs, fight poverty and revitalize the area."
Quinn's staff said the Port of East St. Louis will be a 200-acre, multi-modal facility that will link the Midwest to the world through waterway, highway and rail connections. The public-private partnership will be the single most important business development opportunity that the city has seen in the past 15 years.
The port site is less than a mile from the Poplar Street Bridge and will have access to Class I railroads with maximum-unit train capabilities. The plan is for the port to eventually include public docks, cargo cranes and manufacturing a warehouse facilities.