Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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Economic Development Program

Purpose of the Economic Development Program

The purpose of the Economic Development Program (EDP) is to provide state assistance in improving highway access to new or expanding industrial distribution or tourism developments. The intent is to make available state matching funds that will be a positive contribution in the location-selection process and to target those projects which will expand the state's existing job base or create new employment opportunities. The focus of the program is on the retention and creation of permanent full-time jobs. Funding will be available to construct highway facilities that provide direct access to industrial, distribution or tourism developments. The program is designed to assist in those situations where development of these types of facilities is imminent. Projects which only improve opportunities for development or are speculative in nature are not eligible for EDP funding. Projects providing access to retail establishments, office parks, government facilities or school/universities are not eligible for EDP funding.

How does funding work?

The EDP program is designed to provide up to 50 percent state funding for eligible locally owned roadways, and 100 percent state funding for roadway improvements on state owned routes. The remaining 50 percent match will be provided by local government entities or private sources. However, IDOT can only enter into an agreement with a local body of government (i.e. township, city, village or county). Although it is a requirement of the program for the sponsor to contribute local money to the project, as of January 1, 2012, IDOT will allow grants from other state agencies as an allowable funding source for the sponsor’s 50 percent match if the local agency has participated in the project in some fashion such as preliminary engineering, donation of land, etc).

The EDP is a program for reimbursement of a portion of eligible costs of an approved project and is not a grant program. Each year the department sets aside $10 million for the program. This funding allows the department to contribute up to $2 million maximum to local economic development projects. Due to the program’s overall size, costs beyond the $2 million project limit must be absorbed by the local community, company or developer. Inquiries and notification of a particular project should be directed to the Bureau of Statewide Program Planning at the address listed below. After initial contact, IDOT staff in the Central Office and each of the nine highway districts are available to work with local government sponsors in the development of an application for EDP funds and the determination of needed roadway improvements. The department’s staff is available to meet with parties involved in the project and answer questions.

Project Review and Selection Process

Generally, the review and selection process for EDP candidates is as follows:

  1. IDOT is contacted by a local sponsor of a potential project and sets up a meeting with the department to discuss.

  2. The local sponsor submits an application with the information requested in the guidelines to IDOT.

  3. The application is reviewed for complete eligibility and funding.

  4. The local sponsor is then notified of the results of the review (i.e., request for additional information; application denied or accepted).

  5. Once the department commits to fund the project through the EDP, a Local Agency/IDOT Joint Agreement is prepared. (See below for joint agreement example.) The district office for the project will write the joint agreement.

After the joint agreement has been executed, the project may be let for bids.

Economic Development Program Agreement (Word document)
Economic Development Program/TARP Agreement (Word document)

When to Apply

The local sponsor should apply for funding as soon as possible after the project site and an appropriate range of access needs are identified. Notification of the Bureau of Statewide Program Planning will trigger a site evaluation process which must occur before review of the funding application can begin.
Since it is imperative that the department received an “accurate” cost estimate with the EDP application, Preliminary Engineering (PE) work must be completed prior to applying for or being approved for Economic Development Program (EDP) funds. In order to address this, IDOT will allow for reimbursement of the eligible engineering related to the EDP project as long as the following three conditions are met:

  • the department has been contacted prior to the work being undertaken;

  • the schedule for the incoming EDP eligible business investment requires the work to begin (in order to make the "opening" date of the proposed business activity); and

  • the Secretary (or his designee) has provided a letter authorizing such work.

The Secretary's authorization will state: that this work will be undertaken at the sponsor's risk * and that only work dated after the Secretary's letter will be eligible for reimbursement.

Normal procedures for engineering agreements involving MFT funds must be followed and coordinated through the appropriate IDOT District Local Roads office.

Notice that this applies only to engineering work. Only engineering work associated with EDP eligible businesses and EDP eligible pay items can be reimbursed. If actual construction has begun prior to the department approving an EDP application, this will jeopardize the ability for EDP participation.

* If the EDP project is not selected for funding, the engineering will not be reimbursable.

What documents are necessary for an application?

  1. A letter requesting funds from the sponsor.

    This letter should contain the following information:
    • Name of Local Government to Sponsor the project
    • Address
    • Contact Person with phone number
    • Company’s Name
    • Type of Industry or Project
    • Tourism Event (if applicable) & Peak Day Attendance
    • Explanation of why these roadway improvements are necessary to the company

  2. A general description of the scope of the project and a location map.
    The location map should be a simple map showing where the company is located in relation to the necessary roadway improvements.

  3. A detailed engineer’s cost estimate

  1. A commitment letter from the company describing their intent to locate or expand at this site.

  2. Employee Reporting Form signed by the company.

  1. Local Agency/Company Employment Agreement
    This is an agreement strictly between the sponsoring agency and the company. This form is not a requirement to have at the time of application; however, IDOT suggests all local agencies have this in place to protect themselves from unforeseen default of the company.

Eligibility Criteria

The cost-effectiveness of each investment of EDP dollars is a major factor in the evaluation of proposed projects. Priority considerations are:

  • Need for the highway improvement and imminence of development.

  • Compatibility of the proposed roadway with the design of the existing roadway system.

  • Primary jobs created or retained in Illinois and total developer site cost estimate.

  • Annual and peak day attendance at tourist developments.

  • Commitment of the industrial/distribution/tourist development to the site to be served by facility.

  • Willingness of the sponsoring local government to participate in the local share of the improvement cost.

Examples of Non Eligible Items

Land Acquisition
Building demolition
Street lighting
Utility adjustments

Note: Due to the nature of construction practices, some items not typically eligible for EDP funding may be considered. These would have to be reviewed on a case by case basis and approved by the Central Office.

Compliance with Public Act 93-552

The Corporate Accountability for Tax Expenditures Act requires EDP recipients to submit an Employee Reporting form stating the recipient’s commitment to specific employment levels. This form shall be submitted with the initial application from the sponsor and shall be completed annually for 5 years from the date of an executed joint agreement with IDOT. All annual forms will be completed on-line through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Any questions should be direct to Denise Todd at (217) 785-8643.

For more information on this program, please contact:

Chief, Bureau of Statewide Program Planning
IDOT, 2300 S. Dirksen Parkway, Rm. 307
Springfield, IL 62764
(217) 782-2755

Truck Access Route Program (TARP)

The purpose of the TARP is to help local governments upgrade roads to accommodate 80,000 pound truck loads. The department has a set aside amount of TARP funding that coincides with funding for Economic Development Program projects. This should not be confused with the annual TARP solicitation through our IDOT District Offices (see below). When a local sponsor applies for EDP funding, they can also request TARP funding for the same route provided the roadway connects to an already existing designated truck route or municipality and ends at another designated truck route, truck generator, or municipality. The department will provide up to $45,000 per lane mile and $22,000 per intersection for an eligible roadway. Please note that when requesting TARP funding in conjunction with an EDP application, the TARP funding is capped at $150,000 for the overall project. Please include the exact length of the roadway and how many intersections are involved in the project with your EDP application. This information is necessary to calculate TARP funding.

TARP Fall Solicitation
Every fall IDOT solicits local projects that can be constructed during the upcoming fiscal year. We encourage you to submit your inquiries and requests for assistance to the District Local Roads and Streets office that serves your county. The state participation will not exceed 50% of the total construction costs or $900,000 whichever is less. Please contact your District Local Roads and Streets office for details of how to apply for the TARP annual program.
The following information is needed for all TARP applications:

  • A general description of the project

  • A location map

  • The limits of the project

  • Total mileage, including lane miles

  • Number of trucks per day

  • Intersections with designated truck routes only

  • Anticipated letting date

For more information on this program, please contact:

Bureau of Local Roads and Streets
Highway Systems Manager
Room 205
Illinois Department of Transportation
2300 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62764
Phone (217) 782-3401
Fax (217) 782-3971

Rail Freight Program (RFP)

The purpose of the RFP is to provide capital assistance to communities, railroads and shippers to preserve and improve rail freight service in Illinois. The primary role of the program is to facilitate investments in rail service by serving as a link between interested parties and channeling government funds to projects that achieve statewide economic development. The department will generally provide low interest loans to finance rail improvements and, in some cases, provide grants. The focus is on projects with the greatest potential for improving access to markets and maintaining transportation costs savings, and where state participation will leverage private investments to foster permanent solutions to rail service problems. A benefit/cost ratio is used to evaluate potential rail freight projects.

Requests for RFP funds should be sent to the Bureau of Railroads, and should include the following information:

  • A general description of the project and a location map depicting the beginning and ending points.

  • Benefits expected from the project (e.g., job creation and retention, transportation savings, etc.)

  • The name of the industries involved, and the name title, address and telephone number of the principal contract for the project.

  • An engineer’s cost estimate, if available.

For more information on the program, please contact:
Chief, Bureau of Railroads
IDOT, 100 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 793-3940

Other State Resources
If there is a railroad crossing within the limits of the proposed access improvement, additional funding may be available from the Illinois Commerce Commission's Grade Crossing Protection fund through separate application to the ICC.

For more information on this program, please contact:

Manager, Railroad Safety
Grade Crossing Protection
Illinois Commerce Commission
527 East Capitol, P. O. Box 19280
Springfield, IL 62794
(217) 782-7660

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