OmniTRAX, Illinois city to receive $6M grant for trackwork

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
The city of Peru, Ill., and OmniTRAX, Inc., are set to receive a $6 million grant for extensive trackwork on the Illinois Railway. | Image courtesy of OmniTRAX

The city of Peru, Ill., and OmniTRAX, Inc., an affiliate of The Broe Group, are set to receive a $6,081,036 grant for extensive trackwork on the OmniTRAX-managed Illinois Railway (IR).

The Peru Intermodal, Safety, Congestion, and Energy Security Project, Phase II (PISCES II) is being awarded the grant as part of the federal government’s FY 18 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program, officials said in a statement.

The funds are intended for the capstone project of a long-term public-private partnership between the city of Peru, Ill., and OmniTRAX, which representatives said is meant to bring about “a dramatically safer community and a more efficient transport network.”

The project is expected to improve crossing surfaces and install 25 miles of 115-pound rail, 20,000 crossties and seven switch sets, and 7,600 tons of ballast along the 17-mile corridor on the IR’s La Salle sub from Peru to Zearing, Ill. Officials said the planned work is also expected to lead to economic growth and new jobs for the central Illinois region.

“We are very excited to be involved with this generational investment in the central Illinois rail network and appreciate the efforts of both the local and federal governments, particularly the state’s two US senators and Rep. Adam Kinzinger who have supported the grant from its initiation,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX. “It’s projects like this, based on mutual benefit for all stakeholders, that are a shining example of how government and business can work together effectively.”

The first two elements of the project, funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and local sources, provided easier access to the truck-to-rail transload facility, diverted traffic away from downtown Peru and built a new access road and rail siding.

Construction work for the most recent component of the project will be administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and representatives said is likely to kick off in 2020 and take several months to complete.

Peru Mayor Scott Harl said the project is expected to benefit the local community by making the railroad safer while enhancing the performance of the Peru Industrial Railroad.

“This is the definition of public-private partnerships and we’re fortunate to have OmniTRAX as our partner in this one,” Harl said.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (IL-D) also explained that the project is intended to support continued economic growth and the creation of new opportunities in and around Peru while improving transportation safety.

“I am proud of my friends in the City of Peru who have done a wonderful job of designing and championing infrastructure projects that can benefit Illinois for many years to come,” Durbin said.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) also said the grant award for the city of Peru is positive news for the 16th Congressional District and the entire region.

“With this investment, city officials can move forward on plans to improve railway routes and the capacity to access new economic opportunities,”Kinzinger said. “I’m grateful to the Department of Transportation for recognizing the needs in our community and the value that the City of Peru’s Pisces II Project will bring to the area.”

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