This spring, State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) served as a lead House Republican negotiator for the state’s new $45 billion capital construction plan. As he urged lawmakers to support capital funding, he spoke of Rochelle, and how in the town known as “Hub City,” a solid infrastructure is the backbone of the area’s rural economy. On Friday, as the City of Rochelle held an Infrastructure Celebration Day that highlighted $50 million in new infrastructure improvements, Demmer was presented with the “Friend of Infrastructure” Award from the Transportation for Illinois Coalition (TFIC) and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
While presenting the award, Jennifer Morrison, Managing Director for the TFIC, said Demmer was a strong leader who has worked hard over the last decade for the expansion of infrastructure in Rochelle. “At the coalition, we all agree on the importance infrastructure has on our economy and on our quality of life,” said Morrison. “Representative Demmer played a key role in negotiating the transportation and capital investment programs that were passed this spring, and he worked with his colleagues in the House Republican Caucus and across the aisle to ensure bipartisan support for comprehensive infrastructure investments for all of the people of Illinois. We are so very grateful.”
Upon accepting the award, Demmer said, “Rochelle did not just stand by and wait for an employer to build on an empty lot and bring a few jobs to the area. The leaders here were proactive,” said Demmer. “These are comprehensive projects that will attract millions in private and public investments.”
Demmer continued, “Rochelle doesn’t just have land that’s ready for development, we’re celebrating the fact that we have sewer and water infrastructure, and industrial-scale electrical power that is cheap and reliable that’s run to those sites. We’re celebrating city rail that connects these sites with two class I rail lines, and that less than a mile from here we have two interstate highways that carry thousands of cars and trucks every day. We’re also celebrating that just down the road we have an airport that was recently expanded to handle greater traffic, and that we’re near a major cargo airport. We’re 20 miles from a major university, and we have several community colleges that train and qualify a workforce to take these kinds of jobs.”
Friday’s celebration took place on the grounds of the newly-completed Rochelle Transload Center, a major rail improvement that will spur economic development. In addition to many members of the business community, the event was attended by representatives of several local, state and federal agencies that assisted with various projects.
The Rochelle Infrastructure Celebration included the grand openings of the Transload Center, and the City of Rochelle Railroad bridge, and recognition of several other utility infrastructure projects that have recently been completed. During the event the City also unveiled new projects, including a new 21-inch sewer line extension through the industrial park expansion, the construction of a new water treatment facility and the widening and improvement to truck routes at Steward Road and Main Street.