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Durbin: Road rebuilding will support growth near airport
Posted By Brandon Reid On September 5, 2012 @ 6:00 am In Local News, Online Exclusives | No Comments
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Aug. 29 the reconstruction of access roads to Chicago Rockford International Airport is critical to the growth of area businesses and regional economic development.
The road rebuilding project received a $2.7 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, which will jumpstart the project following significant state and local funding.
The rebuilt roads will create or save more than 700 jobs and attract $77 million in private investment, and construction of the roads will support 100 additional jobs.
“International and local businesses want to locate in Rockford because they can move their products and people anywhere in the world through this airport, but the current condition of the roads around the airport has limited further growth,” Durbin said. “The funding for this project is a prime example of local, state and federal governments coming together to make a critical infrastructure investment. The federal grant gets this economic development project moving and removes a roadblock to business growth.”
Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said: “This $2.7 million EDA infrastructure investment demonstrates the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening our nation’s roads and bridges, and helping businesses in Illinois and across the U.S. to hire, grow and compete. The grant will enable companies doing business at the Chicago Rockford International Airport to create new jobs, increase their cargo handling capabilities and attract additional capital. Equally important, it will ensure the continued viability of an airport that is one of the country’s top 25 cargo facilities. That’s how we create an economy that’s built to last in communities across America.”
The airport has become one of the nation’s busiest cargo airports since the community recruited UPS to bring its package-sorting hub to town in 1994. Local roads, including Airport Drive and Falcon Road, see heavy truck traffic from the many area businesses and are in need of repair.
The near $10 million project will be funded through a $2.7 million grant from the EDA, $3 million from the airport and $2 million each from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the City of Rockford. The EDA grant will allow construction to be expedited — with an expected start date in 2013.
Once reconstruction is complete, Falcon Road will be able to accommodate heavy-duty trucks of up to 80,000 pounds. Major area employers will be able to move products in and out of the airport more efficiently, saving time and money. Public transit will also benefit as Rockford Mass Transit District buses use Falcon Road to move passengers and workers.
The airport, which is one of the country’s top 25 cargo facilities, has 30 industrial tenants and is in a Foreign-Trade Zone.
From the Sept. 5-11, 2012, issue
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