Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 3, 2008

City gets $500,000 grant for truck route

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MT. VERNON — The City has received a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation to construct a truck route to provide access to the Continental Tire North America plant.

“Given the expansion and increase in truck traffic that is expected from the expansion, Continental Tire and the city wanted to separate out the truck traffic to the plant,” Mt. Vernon City Manager Ron Neibert said. “Once completed, all truck traffic will use the new entrance and the existing entrance will be used for autos for visitors and employees to the facility.”

According to a letter sent by Illinois Department of Transportation Director Milt Sees, the city requested Economic Development Program funds for the new access to the plant, and the funds, set at “an amount not to exceed $504,662” can be used to provide 50 percent of the eligible roadway-related items for its construction.

“Typically our program would not allow for a second entrance to be built to a facility; however, given the increased truck and employee traffic to this company, a second entrance is important to the operation,” Sees’ letter states. “It is our understanding that this company plans to expand its facility and invest $78 million while adding 55 new jobs. This will help maintain a strong economic employment base for the city of Mt. Vernon and Jefferson County.”

The new entrance is expected to be built off Illinois Route 142 east of the railroad crossing and directly south of the intersection with Shawnee Street. The proposal calls for the new route to approach the west side of the plant between the existing back wall and the railroad.

According to the project proposal, IDOT funds can be used for the preliminary engineering, construction, construction engineering and contingencies. All improvements must be constructed to state motor fuel tax standards.

“All necessary land acquisition or building demolition to construct this roadway will be the responsibility of the city of Mt. Vernon,” the project summary states. In addition, CTNA will be required to comply with the state Corporate Accountability for Tax Expenditures Act.

“The act requires any recipient business which is the intended beneficiary of EDP assistance to submit an initial report stating that business’ commitment to specific employment levels and to subsequently report the progress of the development and specified employment commitments for the project on an annual basis,” the summary states. CTNA will be required to report to the state for five calendar years.

“For the purpose of the EDP, the Continental Tire Company will be required to enter into an agreement with the city of Mt. Vernon to ensure that these reporting requirements are fulfilled,” the project summary states. “These agreements should be in place prior to the execution of the intergovernmental agreement between the department and the city of Mt. Vernon. The agreement between the city of Mt. Vernon and the business must be in place prior to the disbursement of any EDP funds.”