A state of the art transportation hub opens its gates in Rochelle, but stateline leaders say the hub will drive economic development throughout the region. Economists say the Union Pacific facility is on track to bring nearly $3 billion to the area over the next decade.
Stateline leaders call this $181 million transportation hub the road to economic recovery for northwest Illinois.
"This indeed is one of the lights that's shining in terms of economic development and what we're seeing today is just the beginning."
The state of the art technology allows union pacific to take shipping containers right off the train tracks and drop it onto a semi trailer. Companies that conduct business this way can save big money because cargo can be shipped by air, rail or port without being repacked at each stop.
"This will serve as a magnet for companies that are considering relocating or staying in the area."
Stateline leaders say they don't view the Rochelle hub as competition. They say this is regionally economic development at it's best.
"I-39 will become a logistics center for large organizations. I-39 will be the place to be," Kris Cohn says.
Rockford's mayor agrees, the hub is a critical piece to getting the city's economy back on track
"You tie this in with the great road system and the airport and we really can be a transportation distribution center," says Mayor Doug Scott.
Many say the development can't roll in fast enough. Union Pacific's intermodal technology reduces the entry or exit time for trucks from the national average of four minutes to about a minute.