A major railroad and logistics investment planned for the small Metro East community of Jerseyville will make a major impact on the region’s transportation and logistics infrastructure, officials say.
The project involves the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which has a line running through the town, and Illinois and company officials say they will release more details March 2.
An investment of about $500 million could create 1,000 jobs in the city of roughly 8,000 people 20 miles north of Alton, according to the Jerseyville Economic Development Council. Specifics won’t be released until next month, but the Council indicated that the investment on the edge of the St. Louis metro area “will have a major impact on the entire Midwest economy and the country’s logistics and commerce industries.”
For several years, Jerseyville Mayor William Russell has been in talks with the Kansas City Southern Railroad about locating a logistics center for offloading cargo to semi-trucks along the rail line that runs through the city.
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He told the Post-Dispatch Friday that the development would also include light manufacturing and a larger logistics center.
“It is by no means just unloading box cars,” Russell said.
Kansas City Southern is one of the country’s major railroads. One of its Class I rail lines crosses the Mississippi River at Louisiana, Mo., and runs between Springfield and East St. Louis in Illinois.
The St. Louis region’s economic development officials have targeted logistics and shipping as one of the area’s major employment and investment opportunities, launching the St. Louis Regional Freightway in 2016 to promote transportation infrastructure and the shipping and logistics industry.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, plan to attend the March 2 announcement. Representatives from Kansas City Southern Railroad and Atlanta-based real estate investment firm Stonemont Financial Group are also expected to attend, according to the Jerseyville Economic Development Council.
The Alton Telegraph reported in late 2016, when discussions were still underway, that the truck-loading facility could help the railroad reach Chicago customers while avoiding that city’s rail congestion.
Russell said Kansas City Southern “has been on board with us from the beginning” but it had taken time to find the right financial partner.
Going forward, he said there was a possibility for 1,000 more jobs in ensuing years as other logistics and transportation companies locate or expand nearby the new logistics park. But the initial investment will be significant for the St. Louis region, he said.
“These are international corporations they are in discussions with,” he said. “This is huge.”
Kansas City Southern confirmed the information in the Jerseyville Economic Development Council announcement but declined to comment further.