ROCHELLE (WIFR) -- The railcars made at Nippon Sharyo can reach speeds of 125 miles per hour and the successes at the Rochelle company are coming just as fast.
The President wanted to get to the next generation of Transportation,” said Ray LaHood the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
That's why President Obama put in an unprecedented $8 billion into the stimulus package to go toward high speed rail and we're starting to see some tangible results. “Right now in our state, Amtrak has had a 75% increase in passenger ridership,” said Governor Quinn.
That's why the folks at Rochelle's Nippon Sharyo think they are on the fast track toward sustained growth.
"Today Right now is one of the greatest days in our 13 years,” said Hideyuki Ninomiya, with the Sumitomo Corporation of America.
Nippon Sharyo landed a $352 million contract with the California Department of Transportation. They will be making 130 cars for California with some going to Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois. Nippon beat out bids from all four states to win the contract. The Nippon Sharyo project is a game changer. Rochelle's Director for Economic Development Jason Anderson tells 23 News the Amtrak president says there are literally thousands of cars coming of age in this country that will soon need to be replaced.
“This is going to be a project that is going to last for decades and that's what gets us excited here in Rochelle about the opportunity that that brings the whole region,” said Anderson.
This contract follows a $585 million deal with Chicago Metra to make 160 new cars.
“Right now we have two major contracts. Right now together they equal about a billion dollars of investment,” said Governor Quinn.
This is one reason why 300 jobs have been created at Nippon Sharyo's Rochelle plant in the past six months and the hiring doesn't expect to stop any time soon.
“The Rockford/Rochelle region has the workforce. It's already here and now Rochelle has all the infrastructure. The rail is already here. So the idea is, you've got the workforce and you've got the infrastructure. This is the place to build,” said Jason Anderson.
88 of the 130 cars will stay in the Midwest and they will be delivered starting in 2015.
They are very optimistic that more contracts are coming because high-speed rail is on the rise.As Quinn mentioned, ridership is up in Illinois by 75%, in California by over 50%, and just the Chicago to St. Louis corridor route is up 223% over the last 6 years.
ROCHELLE (WIFR) -- It was just four months ago when Nippon Sharyo announced a major expansion would bring 250 jobs to Rochelle. Nippon will build 130 passenger railcars that will be delivered to California, Missouri Michigan and Illinois. Nippon Sharyo beat out companies from all four states to win the contract.
The rail cars will start being delivered in 2015 and we'll hear more from my interview with Governor Quinn on this exciting news for the Stateline coming up tonight on the 23 news at six.