MT. VERNON — Gov. Pat Quinn joined local and company officials on Tuesday to open a new railroad spur at Continental Tire of the Americas, a state-funded infrastructure improvement that will aid in the company's expansion.
"This is one of the biggest sites of employment in our whole state," Gov. Quinn. "And we have done a number of things to work together with the company. We passed an incentive package a couple of years ago and then we came upon this opportunity here today."
The new $1.1 million railroad spur, funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation, will help the company bring more resources in and ship out more finished goods to national and international markets. The recently completed truck access route near the plant has already helped improve the flow of products in and out of the facility.
"The best way to fight poverty is to have a job. The best way to fight crime is a job. The best way to keep families together is a J-O-B. That's what we believe in, and that's what our country believes in," Quinn told the audience of spectators and workers. "That's why it's important for our government at the federal, state and local level to work together, and that's what we've done here," he added.
Quinn said it's also important to provide transportation to spur economic growth, noting expansion of I-57 between Johnston City and Marion, the Illinois Highway 13 expansion from Marion to Carbondale, and grade separations, where the railroad and highway intersect.
"Most people don't like waiting on trains. They would rather go over an interchange or highway over it. So it's important we find these specific concrete things that we the people can do together with our government in order to help jobs. That is the number one issue in our state," the governor said.