Transportation fuels central Illinois’ economy. The tri-county region’s excellent location—coupled with the unique accessibility to air, rail, barge, and interstate transportation—makes the area very attractive to growing companies on the move. Not only does the presence of these modes of transportation make our everyday lives easier, but it also enables large businesses to successfully transport their goods and services from the tri-county area to the rest of the world.

Fifty percent of the nation’s population lives within a day’s drive of central Illinois. Located midway between Chicago and St. Louis, the tri-county area’s location gives our communities and businesses the lucrative advantage of having convenient access to larger markets in those metropolitan areas.

The Federal Express facility at the Greater Peoria Regional Airport (GPRA) benefits from the cost savings and efficiencies this accessibility provides. As Federal Express operations continue to grow, central Illinois may even have the opportunity to become a routing point for the company’s Midwest operations.

Federal Express isn’t the only form of air transportation contributing to the growth of GPRA. Trans States Airlines/American Connection and American Airlines both recently announced additional flights at GPRA. Now, not only is the airport well on its way to becoming the most used airfield in the greater central Illinois area, but GPRA also established a regional monopoly on flights into and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the nation’s busiest airport.

In addition to air transportation, the region is also served by an excellent interstate system, including direct accessibility to Interstate 74; U.S. 150; and Illinois routes 40, 29, 8, and 6. This interstate access not only helps businesses get their products and people where they need to be, but it also feeds entire industries focused on servicing the transportation business.

Brahler’s Truckers Supply is one company that moved to the area to take advantage of the thriving transportation business here. Brahler’s recently expanded to Morton to have convenient access to the presence of large trucking fleets. That presence, along with the many small and medium-sized fleets that exist in the area to support the larger companies, has kept the company busy since its opening here in October 2001.

“Part of the reason we’ve been so successful in Morton and Peoria is the way Cat does business here, outsourcing a significant amount of their work to smaller transportation companies in the area,” said Richard Brahler, president of Brahler’s Truckers Supply.

The presence of the Illinois River in the tri-county area is important to the economic health of the region, as well. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of the river, the transportation implications are also significant. Providing access from the Great Lakes to the southern Gulf ports, the Illinois River is used to transport more than 35 million tons of cargo annually.

The transportation resources here are real, tangible assets for the region. The EDC often receives leads requiring access to certain modes of transportation. Recent leads from DCCA have included requests for locations within a specified distance from a rail line or major interstate. Not having such facilities would immediately disqualify a company from attracting such leads.

The advantages of convenient access to interstate, rail, barge, and air transportation are important to the economic well being of the tri-county area. Businesses and individuals in central Illinois benefit from these transportation channels each and every day, and growing companies on the move are looking for just the types of convenient transportation access found here. Now, more than ever, transportation does fuel the central Illinois economy. The EDC is proud to include transportation in the many benefits of living and working here as we continue to promote Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties to businesses everywhere. IBI