Illinois leaders gather in the Forest City to talk infrastructure
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Thursday marks the second day of the 37th Annual Fall Planning Session for the Illinois Department of Commerce.
Infrastructure leaders from around the state gathered to discuss ideas on how to both make Illinois greener, and how to attract more manufacturers to the area.
The conference theme this year was “Charge Ahead and REC it! How Resiliency, Equity, and Climate Change Will Influence Transportation Planning.” One of the main subjects talked about- charging stations for electric vehicles.
“(We’re) Installing chargers at least every 50 miles and within one mile of the interstate, that’s IDOT’s initial steps into it. Local agencies I expect will do much more,” said Michael Vanderhoof, IDOT’s Planning Bureau Chief.
Vanderhoof says it’s important to be environmentally friendly, but it’s also important to be manufacturer friendly. This is something that resonates well with leaders from the City of Rochelle.
“What I’ve had the good fortune of, is basically leveraging all of that IDOT Infrastructure and creating literally thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of capital investment in a town of 96 hundred people,” said Rochelle’s Economic Development Director Jason Anderson.
Anderson was one of the keynote speakers on Thursday. He talked about how Rochelle used current successful infrastructure projects to show businesses that the city is a viable option for growing businesses.
“When you have shovel-ready sites, which is part of the infrastructure and you have incentive packages already built in certain areas of this county, it spurs growth,” he said.
This is something Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli is hoping to mirror.
“When you have shovel ready sites, which is part of the infrastructure and you have incentive packages already built in in certain areas of this county, it spurs growth,” Chiarelli told 23 News.
Rochelle will soon hold a groundbreaking for the steel manufacturer Zekelman. Chiarelli says Winnebago County will soon announce a project of its own near I-39 and Baxter Road.
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