(From left) Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Christine Reed, Former Port Commissioner Joe Schuler, Port Commissioner and Venice Township Supervisor Andy Economy, Port Commissioner Charles King Jr., Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Mayor of Madison and America’s Central Port Board Chairman John Hamm III, Executive Director of America’s Central Port Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Retired U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, state Sen. William Haine, state Rep. Dan Beiser, St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Alton Mayor and Port Commissioner Brant Walker, Grafton Mayor and Port Commissioner Tom Thompson, Former Port Commissioner Melvin Wilmsmeyer, Tom Hewlett, Former Port District General Manager Velda Taylor and Madison City Council Member Michael Vrabrec.
MADISON — The Board of Commissioners and staff members at America’s Central Port welcomed state and local officials along with hundreds of business leaders for dedication of the South Harbor project Monday.
The project constructed 9,600 feet of rail track, moved more than 1 million cubic yards of dirt and used approximately 8,000 cubic yards of concrete to create a new rail, truck and barge terminal and general cargo barge dock.
“This is a great day for the city of Madison,” said Mayor John Hamm III, current board chairman at America’s Central Port. “Today we celebrate the opportunities this project has created for the city of Madison, the port district and for the St. Louis region as a whole.”
The ceremony included speeches by Hamm, Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, Illinois Deputy Secretary of Transportation Christine Reed and U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen.
“For years Madison County and the port district have partnered together to promote growth and transportation in the area,” Dunstan said. “With continued investments into our infrastructure, like those in the South Harbor, we are spurring future growth and job creation for Madison County.”
The new $50 million facility at America’s Central Port will increase the handling capabilities of port operators to better accommodate the demands and needs of Midwest growers and shippers. Waterway shipping provides agricultural and industrial shippers a more economical rate structure that will allow them to better compete in the global market place.
The ceremony also highlighted a $2.3 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant for additional rail track work at the port district that was announced Sept. 30. The port district also announced the construction of a new grain bin to complement the new grain terminal. Construction is expected to commence immediately.
The ceremony concluded with tours of the new conveyor system, a river tow boat and the city of Madison’s new fire boat.