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Illinois to begin studies of Midwest Inland Port in Decatur

May 11, 2015

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Two studies that the state of Illinois is funding to further develop the Midwest Inland Port in Decatur are moving forward.

The city of Decatur waited more than a year for approval from the state to go ahead with the studies because of state budget cuts. Funding for the studies was pledged by state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Department of Transportation officials at a press conference in April, 2014. The Decatur City Council approved the funding last fall, and the city hired URS Corp. of Decatur in February to perform the work.

But city officials in Decatur learned April 23 that the studies had been approved, according to Billy Tyus, assistant city manager.

“It’s very exciting. The community has talked for some time now about the importance of the Midwest Inland Port and the intermodal ramp. We see it as being key to our continued economic growth locally,” Tyus said. “This study is going to be critical to preparing for the growth that’s going to come as part of that, so we’re very excited that we’re moving forward.”

The studies will examine transportation infrastructure near the port and find out how much improvements will cost, the Decatur) Herald & Review (http://bit.ly/1FfpKzW ) reported. A transportation plan will analyze existing facilities and identify possible improvements that could facilitate an array of freight options, while a capital improvements study will lay out preliminary plans for the improvements, including design and cost estimates.

City officials expect it will take at least a year to complete the studies, according to Public Works Director Rick Marley.

The port opened in September 2013 and is built around Archer Daniel Midland Co.’s rail facility. It includes access to major railways, roadways and an airport with its own U.S. Customs office to clear international shipments.

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Information from: Herald & Review, http://www.herald-review.com

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