Eight major infrastructure projects in Madison and St. Clair Counties in southwestern Illinois are receiving more than $41 million in grant funding through the 2023 Illinois Competitive Freight Program. The initiative, which distributes federal infrastructure funds through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), aims to improve the movement of freight and create jobs and economic opportunity while enhancing safety and local quality of life. Successful proposals were ranked based on the plan’s goals: increasing safety, improving reliability, and boosting intermodal connections and commerce at the local level. A total of more than $200 million is being invested in 22 projects on established freight routes statewide.
“These funds will be used for 22 port, rail, and highway projects in Illinois to address bottlenecks, increase mobility, and improve the supply chain up and down the state,” said Illinois Governor JB Pritzker when he announced the funding this spring.
Among the local projects funded are five on the St. Louis Freightway’s 2023 Priority Projects List. The List is compiled annually by the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s Freight Development Committee. Business and industry leaders work directly with local and state officials and the Illinois and Missouri Departments of Transportation to set infrastructure priorities by helping them to understand how infrastructure and efficiency impact on-time delivery and costs. The ongoing regional effort to compile and build consensus for this List and advocate for funding for projects on it remains a key accomplishment of the organization and plays a vital role in helping to ensure various parties are familiar with the priorities before they see them on a grant application.
The five funded projects on the St. Louis Regional Freightway’s Priority Project List received $33,979,428, allocated as follows:
$15,197,718 to the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis for its multi-modal freight yard expansion at Madison Yard and rail improvements in St. Clair County
$10,000,000 for lane improvements on Interstate 55/70 in Madison County between Interstates 255 and 270.
$4,323,800 to the Kaskaskia Regional Port District for congestion reduction and safety engineering and construction.
$3,636,000 for dock improvements at America’s Central Port in Madison County.
$771,960 for engineering work on the Illinois Route 3 Diversion – Falling Springs Road and Route 3 Bypass in Sauget.
“The funding TRRA has received will support the addition of a third main line at our Madison Yard, adding another 8,000 feet of track that will provide added capacity to accommodate greater velocity, so that freight trains moving through this area can move through faster,” said Brent Wood, President of the Terminal Railroad of St. Louis. “We appreciate the State of Illinois’ commitment to funding infrastructure projects of this nature that can help to reduce congestion and delays in one of the highest volume freight hubs in the nation and strengthen our rail network so it can handle increasing volumes in the years ahead.”
Three other local projects receiving funding, included:
$4,000,000 for reconstruction engineering for Illinois Route 127 between I-64 and Illinois Route 15 in St. Clair County.
$2,100,000 for road improvements at America’s Central Port.
$1,600,000 for Illinois Route 203 pavement profile raise engineering in Madison County.
“The State of Illinois continues to be a great partner and certainly understands the value of freight transportation at all inland ports,” said Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director, America’s Central Port, which received funding for two projects. “We are pleased to work with the State of Illinois on rehabilitation of critical roads within our main industrial park that will allow trucks ease of access to and from the Port’s terminals and warehouses.”
Wilmsmeyer said the funding for the expansion of the Granite City Harbor General Cargo Dock will allow for an increase in capacity and movement of goods to and from barges. That project also will increase the laydown area, truck turning area, and provide a safer and more efficient surface for handling commodities.
“We are thankful that Governor Pritzker and IDOT are highlighting these projects which serve as economic catalysts for the St. Louis Metro East area and the State of Illinois,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises for Bi-State Development and head of the St. Louis Regional Freightway enterprise. “These infrastructure enhancements will further elevate the region as a global logistics hub while supporting increased safety, reliability, and mobility.”
Ed Weilbacher, General Manager of Kaskaskia Regional Port District, said, “This project not only reduces congestion and improves safety and efficiency but also builds the infrastructure to link to a new south dock that was just submitted to the Maritime Administration’s PIDP program. We greatly appreciate the State of Illinois in selecting our project for funding. It shows that the State of Illinois supports ports throughout the state..
The full list of 2023 Priority Projects, which includes more details about each of the 25 projects identified for investment, is available at https://www.thefreightway.com/why-stl-region/priority-infrastructure-projects/.
About St. Louis Regional Freightway
A Bi-State Development enterprise, the St. Louis Regional Freightway is a regional freight district and comprehensive authority for freight operations and opportunities within eight counties in southwestern Illinois and eastern Missouri, which comprise the St. Louis metropolitan area. Public sector and private industry businesses are partnering with the St. Louis Regional Freightway to establish the bi-state region as one of the premier multimodal freight hubs and distribution centers in the United States through marketing and advocacy for infrastructure development that supports the movement of freight. To learn more, visit thefreightway.com.