The Illinois Department of Transportation is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration to link Midwest manufacturers with railroad projects. Almost 100 businesses gathered in Chicago to attend a meet and greet as part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. The idea is to get more Midwest manufacturers involved with railroad projects across Illinois, especially those manufacturers that haven’t done business in the rail industry before.
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It would bode well for the governor’s efforts to create jobs, says Ann Schneider, secretary of IDOT. “I think we’re on the cusp of something that could create a lot of jobs here in Illinois,” Schneider said. Manufacturers that aren’t involved in the rail industry were paired with companies already in the business to help give them the insight they need to get involved. Similar meetings have happened on the West Coast for rail projects there. The focus is more on high-speed passenger rail than freight rail.