Metro-East News

Federal government approves $8.1M East St. Louis road project

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has approved St. Clair County’s request for funding help for a road reconstruction project in East St. Louis.

The U.S. EDA, which is part of the Commerce Department, has agreed to contribute $3.5 million to help reconstruct Front Street from Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis to where the road dead-ends in Fairmont City, the administration said.

The $8.1 million project also is planned to include resurfacing of Trendley Avenue from Front Street to Main Street, the reconstruction of West Missouri Avenue from Front Street to B Street, and reconstruction of B Street from Missouri Avenue to River Park Drive.

The project is estimated to help save 747 jobs.

“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring our nation’s infrastructure is able to support business growth and job creation,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. “The EDA investments...will support development of this distressed region, attracting new businesses and enabling existing companies to retain jobs.”

The Southwest Illinois Development Authority has pledged $1.5 million toward the project.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has pledged $2 million; the St. Clair County Transit District has promised $800,000; and the Metro East Park and Recreation District has pledged $500,000 toward the project.

Cargill, the Casino Queen and Bunge-SCF Grain in Fairmont City have each pledged to contribute $500,000 toward the project in a public-private partnership, St. Clair County officials have said.

St. Clair County acted as the lead applicant in the project.

This project will help position the area toward a new economic future based on logistics, distribution and light manufacturing, according to the EDA.

The area has suffered from decades of disinvestment as a result of the high sulfur coal market’s collapse and manufacturers that have closed or relocated, the EDA said.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter