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A Publication of WTVP

The Peoria region is committed to growth. With the planned improvements to the med-tech district, the retail store and convention center planned in East Peoria, and the numerous proposals to rejuvenate downtown Peoria, we're well poised to attract new businesses and, subsequently, new jobs. The future of this region looks bright, and a new state-of-the-art interstate welcoming people to the region in 2007 will only augment these plans.

That's the prize I see in our future, and it's a prize well worth the wait.

Although most of you are very well aware of Upgrade 74 and the construction we've experienced for the past two years, the Illinois Department of Transportation is busy rebuilding and reconstructing I-74 from East Peoria through Peoria. What you may not know is that when they're finished, it will be one of the best new interstates in the country.

As chair of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce's Transportation Committee, I understand how important a newly rehabbed I-74 will be to our area. In this age of just-in-time delivery, we can't afford to have an outdated interstate system that doesn't move goods, services, and people in and out of our city at today's business pace.

It's also no secret that companies considering a relocation or expansion for their business look for towns with efficient and effective transportation infrastructures. This results in economic benefits for the business and region such as lower travel times, fewer operating costs, and increased safety efficiencies. With the increased lanes on I-74, new interchanges, and a brand new look and feel, the upgraded I-74 is designed to bring about numerous economic developments that will benefit this region's existing employers and appeal to potential companies.

There are so many cities across the United States that continue to wait to get the authorization and funding necessary to rehabilitate and update their interstate system. We're fortunate enough to be one of the select few that are actually getting ours completely rehabilitated.

There's no question every one of us is going to experience some temporary inconvenience during Upgrade 74. However, it's a small price to endure for a project that will pave the way for economic growth throughout this community. IBI

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