Governor signs bill to expand port district area from Granite City to Jersey County

GRANITE CITY – Gov. Pat Quinn today signed legislation to expand the region in the Metro East area covered by the Tri-City Regional Port District, a leading economic development entity in southwestern Illinois.

The boundaries now include territory along the Mississippi River in Madison and Jersey counties.

“America’s Central Port has proven itself to be an economic development powerhouse that benefits the whole region,” Quinn said. “With this new law, the port district can now work together with even more communities to drive economic growth.”

Senate Bill 499, sponsored by State Senator William Haine, D-Alton and state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, expands the Tri-City Regional Port District boundaries to include the townships of Wood River, Alton, Godfrey and Elsah. The current boundaries include Granite City, Venice, Nameoki and Chouteau Townships in Madison County. The expansion allows the port to assist in the economic growth of the new communities, bringing more investment opportunities and jobs to the region. The bill also expands the Port District board from seven to nine members and allows more efficient access to capital for development purposes. The legislation is effective on Jan. 1, 2015.

America’s Central Port has supported more than 1,000 jobs and more than $282 million in annual economic impact. The port is a 1,200-acre multi-use facility along the Mississippi River and is owned and operated by the Tri-City Regional Port District. The port is the hub of the nation’s intermodal freight transportation system, Quinn noted. Its ideal location with direct access to rail, river and road transportation have made the port a huge economic engine for the Metro East area.

“Shipping on the Mississippi has an enormous economic influence on the entire region,” Haine said. “We are expanding the benefits of the port district to match that wide-ranging impact.”

“America’s Central Port is a leading inland waterway portal to the nation and the world,” Representative Beiser said. “Community leaders wanted to expand its reach in the Metro East area to attract more jobs, encourage more commerce and continue the successful operation of the port.”

Quinn said he has long supported economic development in the Metro East area. His recent efforts include state funding for the $695 million Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River, $75 million for a new Science Building at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Southwestern Illinois College’s new $19.1 million Liberal Arts Complex addition in Belleville.

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