CAIRO – Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced Tuesday that $3.4 million was released via the Rebuild Illinois capital program to continue advancing plans for a new inland port under development in Cairo.
The funding, part of a more than $40 million commitment to the Alexander Cairo Port District, will help to complete federal environmental requirements and studies for the project, according to officials.
“The Cairo port is one of the core pieces of Rebuild Illinois and critical to maintaining our state’s status as the transportation hub of North America,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “The project will put people to work and strengthen the local economy while giving the region the opportunity to compete in the global marketplace.”
Officials said the Cairo port represents one of the largest investments in southern Illinois in decades. Almost 80% of the nation’s inland barge traffic travels past Cairo, where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers converge, with the site served by three major interstate highways and Class 1 railroads. Major logistics and commodities businesses already have committed to using the new port to move crops, container shipments and bulk products.
Previously, IDOT released $4 million to the Alexander Cairo Port District to launch preliminary engineering activities and other related work, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released a $1 million grant for other related work.
A total of $150 million is identified in Rebuild Illinois for the state’s 19 public ports. In addition to the more than $40 million committed to Cairo, Pritzker announced earlier this year that $108.3 million was being awarded on a competitive basis for eight projects, based on their ability to advance IDOT’s Illinois Marine Transportation System Plan, which prioritizes asset management performance-based decisions and projects that benefit disadvantaged or economically distressed areas.