Illinois Awards $200MM in Freight Mobility GrantsWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor, Railway Age
In Illinois, 22 port, rail and highway projects will share $200 million in grant funding to address bottlenecks, increase mobility, and improve the supply chain up and down the state, Gov. JB Pritzker, state and local leaders, and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported March 30.
Funding will be provided through the new Illinois Competitive Freight Program, which is administered by the IDOT using federal funds. The program is designed to implement the goals of the Illinois State Freight Plan, according to IDOT, and the successful proposals were ranked based on that plan’s goals: increasing safety, improving reliability, and boosting intermodal connections and commerce at the local level.
Every year, 1.6 billion tons of freight valued at $2.5 trillion flows in and out of the state, making Illinois one of the top three states for freight activity, IDOT reported.
Among the 2023 award recipients was the city of Decatur, which will receive $10 million for a grade separation project that will eliminate a bottleneck next to the Midwest Inland Port. The award will leverage public and private resources to cover the $75 million project, which will build the Brush College Road overpass at Faries Parkway and Norfolk Southern. The current crossing averages nearly 200 trains per week, “blocking traffic for 17 hours while creating congestion and impeding first responders,” according to IDOT, which noted that the project is needed for the eventual reconstruction of 1.2 miles of Brush College Road, with additional capacity and safety enhancements near major regional employers ADM and Primient.
Other projects receiving awards include: $40 million for capacity improvements at the Illinois 17 interchange with Interstate 57 in Kankakee and $4.3 million for congestion and safety upgrades at the Kaskaskia Regional Port District. See charts below for more.
In related developments, the departments of transportation in Minnesota and New Jersey are investing $6.95 million and $27.8 million, respectively, in projects that will improve freight rail infrastructure.