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Adventures in economic development

Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

* AP

A planned 200,000 square foot jet-repair and maintenance center will run 24 hours a day when it opens in Rockford, a move that’ll create up to 500 jobs in the northern Illinois region that’s become a hub for aerospace-related business, officials said Monday.

Construction on the $40 million facility — a private and public partnership — will start in the next year. The hangar is expected to open in 2016 and will be located at Chicago Rockford International Airport. It’s leased to Wood Dale-based AAR Corp., the largest operator of maintenance and repair sites nationwide.

Officials said they chose Rockford because of its specially trained workforce, location and distribution network. The jobs will be created over the next five years, according to Gov. Pat Quinn’s office.

* Are we sure that’s why the company chose Rockford? Greg Hinz

But the entire capital cost of the project will be funded by taxpayers, with Wood Dale-based AAR leasing the facility. […]

The state will provide $15 million for the facility, with $600,000 for job creation. The rest of the $40 million will come from airport and federal funds.

* In related news

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, other state officials and local leaders on Aug. 14 broke ground on a $7 million infrastructure project for the future Port of East St. Louis, Ill.

The project calls for building an on-site road, rail lines and utilities to create access to the inland port via train, truck and barge. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity provided $5 million for the project, while the port’s developers contributed $1.25 million. Slay Industries/Kinder Morgan will provide $2 million for the private property portion of the road.

“It’s all about location in the shipping industry, and East St. Louis is ideally situated to ship and receive goods by truck, rail or river,” said Quinn in a press release. “The Port of East St. Louis will be a major economic driver for the Metro East region.”

The 200-acre port will link the Midwest to world markets through waterway, highway and rail connections, according to state officials. The port will be located less than a mile from the Poplar Street River Bridge, and will have access to several Class Is and unit-train capabilities.

* This isn’t the first preelection Port of East St. Louis announcement. From October 14, 2010

Governor Pat Quinn today announced $8 million to redevelop a 200-acre former industrial site on the Mississippi River to clear the way to build the Port of East St. Louis and help another local company expand. This investment will create approximately 65 jobs and is funded through the River Edge Redevelopment Zone program. When completed, the multi-modal Port of East St. Louis will create approximately 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.

“Today’s announcement will help East St. Louis create a world-class transportation facility in the heart of the Metro East area,” said Governor Quinn. “The River Edge program allows us to clean up areas that have suffered from years of neglect and turn them into economic engines, creating jobs and boosting Illinois’ continued economic recovery.”

The city of East St. Louis will receive a $5 million River Edge Development Zone grant to build a north entrance into the port, including turn lanes, ramps and a branch of the main loop. Slay Industries and Kinder Morgan together will receive $2 million to redevelop approximately 200 acres for the Port of East St. Louis. The first phase of construction is expected to cost $35 million. When completed, the port will support increased commercial traffic on the Mississippi River, boost the regional economy, and relieve traffic and rail congestion across the Midwest.

At this rate, the port will be completed in the 22nd Century.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    So will the maintenance staff be union?

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    At least there’s some upfront private money in the East St. Louis deal. For the Rockford project, if it’s a reasonably scheduled lease back, could be worth it.

    If you’re going to have a DCEO, I guess projects in places like East St. Louis and Rockford is where the money should go.

    Beats handing over employee tax payments to profitable Fortune 500 companies in EDGE credits.

  3. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:10 pm:

    AAR Corp is American Airlines, no? If they plan to use Rockford as a maintenance hub for their O’Hare operations, that’s a major commitment and should be a great long-term investment by the state.

  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    No it isn’t American Airlines

  5. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    Thanks OneMan.

    AAR. AAL. Close but no cigar.

  6. - Motambe - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Instead of spending millions on a new Mississippi River bridge to send Illinoisians to work and shop in Missouri, State of Illinois should have invested in a state of the art business park and industrial center on the Illinois side of the river. Infrastructure already exists to bring Missouri workers eastbound over the river for jobs.

  7. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    Any port in a storm (of an election) I guess.

  8. - walker - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    These are good things. Better here than elsewhere.

  9. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Aug 19, 14 @ 10:21 pm:

    All good, but how far away is the port, also built with plenty of government help, in Granite City?

  10. - A guy - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 7:46 am:

    If it weren’t for elections, nothing would get built. Silver lining.

  11. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 10:17 am:

    Kinder Morgan is a major shipper of coal and petcoke. Interesting that if the Governor and AG’s regulatory scheme had passed, it may have reduced their investment because they were in Springfield lobbying against it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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