HARRISBURG -- Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) announced that new capital investments could soon be coming to the southern Illinois region.
At a news conference Wednesday, Fowler joined leaders from across the state who highlighted a plan supporting local port projects including an $11.2 million investment to the Shawneetown Regional Port District.
"This is a massive public/private partnership I have been advocating and negotiating for, for quite some time," said Fowler. "It's exciting for our region as we continue to capitalize on opportunities that lie within our two mighty rivers."
The multi-million-dollar project will provide numerous high paying jobs in an economically depressed area of the state, including 250-300 construction jobs, 12-15 cargo service and barge jobs, as well as 20-25 new trucking jobs to move products to and from the river.
"By investing in this project, we will be able to leverage two different sources of transportation methods, including Highway 13 and the Ohio River in Old Shawneetown, that will provide greater access to markets for our agriculture community," said Fowler. "This will provide great benefits for both producers and consumers over time, as barge transportation is both economically and environmentally friendly."
Grantees say the funding would be used to purchase cargo handling equipment, commodity structures, storage facilities and to upgrade current infrastructure to prepare for the new facility.
On top of the $11.2 million for the Shawneetown Port Project, round two of the state's broadband improvement grants were released this week for three projects in southern Illinois.
Those awarded the grants include:
• Clearwave -- $500,000 (Saline, Williamson and Johnson counties)
• Protek Communications -- $2,000,000 (Williamson County)
• WKT Telecom Cooperative -- $5,000,000 (Union and Pulaski counties)
"This additional $7.5 million in broadband funding infrastructure will help connect our rural communities to the rest of the world and make it easier for people and businesses to invest in southern Illinois," added Fowler.