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Illinois International Port District Awarded More Than $20 Million to Renovate Vital Economic Infrastructure

Posted on April 12, 2023

The Illinois International Port District (IIPD) has received $24.5 million in funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Cook County, the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to help rebuild and reestablish vital infrastructure, critical to the global economy.

IDOT’s Competitive Freight Program Grant, worth more than $15 million, is the second investment the department has made at the Port in recent years. Additional funding is expected though IDOT economic development.

“The Illinois International Port District is committed to transporting more cargo than any other port within the Great Lakes region, and the support from IDOT and our other partners will continue to make Illinois a top tier state for years to come and help us remain a symbol of economic growth,” said Erik Varela, IIPD Executive Director.

The Competitive Fright Program Grant will assist with the reconstruction of Butler Drive, a lifeline to the Lake Calumet Terminal facility. This vital shipping line moves more than 10 million tons of cargo per year and allows trucks to reload cargo along the Mississippi River, and eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico.

“Illinois is one of the nation’s largest transportation hubs. We’re proud of our ongoing partnership with the Port and we expect to see the impact of our investment on the global economy,” said BJ Murray, section chief of IDOT’s Aviation and Marine Transport Program.

Other partners include U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, allocating an additional $1.2 million in funding to help rebuild Butler Drive. The City of Chicago, Cook County and many other partners have also pledged funds to help rebuild the road.

“I am grateful for the County’s partnership with IIPD and their commitment to revitalize large-scale projects such as Butler Drive,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “Expanding the Port’s freight capabilities will ultimately make it easier for goods to be transported throughout the county and nation.”

The Illinois International Port District is an Illinois municipal corporation created to promote the shipment of cargoes and commerce through its nearly 2,000 acres of industrial and recreational land on Chicago’s southeast side. The IIPD contributes more than $700 million to the economy per year through its ship and rail ports.


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