4 The Record

I-74 bridge work already catalyst in new business talks

New QC Chamber president says all levels of government still committed to direct

One thing we saw start to blossom after Paul Rumler left -- and you can't miss it now is -- all the work being done along the I-74 corridor.

The new bridge is taking shape.

It's amazing to watch.

Rumler talked about how the chamber makes sure the community not only capitalizes on business investments surrounding that project but the right investments.

"The I-74 bridge is probably one of the most iconic and exciting projects that we'll see in a generation, if not longer," Rumler said. "$1.2 billion dollars. One of the biggest projects in the country happening right now and it's happening right before our very eyes. It's been a long time coming. There's been a long planning process. ... So what we're seeing is this is going to be one of those watershed moments where the mindset of the Quad Cities will change completely. The I-74 bridge for the longest time has been a barrier in our community. In three years, when that bridge is complete, it will no longer be a barrier. It will be the easiest transportation connection between the Quad Cities that we'll ever imagine. And no longer will we have to deal with people saying, 'Ooh, I don't know if that's safe to go over to that side' or 'I don't know if a traffic jam is there.' We actually have the capacity now to unite our Quad Cities in a whole new way."

He also discussed the process of targeting businesses. 

"What you're seeing is Bettendorf evolve as a community," Rumler said. "Downtown is literally taking shape right before our very eyes. Moline, you're seeing all-new development parcels happen. So we're actually working with Bettendorf on how we support their downtown development. We support Moline's downtown development. As we have larger companies looking for a place to be, they want easy access for their customers, for their workers -- and guess what? Being on that I-74 corridor is a very attractive place."

Another transportation issue is the rail service we're waiting to see happen from Moline to Chicago.

The work on the rails isn't moving quickly.

Illinois' Department of Transportation asked for another extension to use the federal grant money set aside for it.

The date for completion regularly gets pushed back.

Rumler addressed how concerned people should be that this might not happen, 
especially after so much was invested in the new train station.

"I think the signals are that everybody remains very supportive of passenger rail service coming to the Quad Cities -- locally, federally and at the state level," Rumler said. "If there wasn't that support, those funds wouldn't be here anymore. The extensions wouldn't exist. I know that continued work is under way to make that a reality. I'm just disappointed that it's taken so long. I wish that I could have come pack on a train."

How soon is that realistic?

"It always was a 2-3 year construction timetable and to my knowledge that full construction hasn't started yet," Rumler said. "So I'd say that we're still a couple years out in the best case scenario."

Watch the entire interview in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It's a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what's happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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