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Local News

Will County considers adding on to freight study project manager deal

JOLIET – The timeline for completion of the Will County Community Friendly Freight Mobility Plan will be extended, but county leaders believe it will deliver a better product in the long run.

The study is aimed at putting Will County in position to secure big-ticket federal and state transportation grants, but also at addressing workforce mobility and livability issues.

Consulting firm CDM Smith was selected by the county in September to conduct the study. Ann Schneider, formerly of the Illinois Department of Transportation, is managing the project.

The study is expected to cost about $1 million.

Since the study commenced, the county has been able to secure a $750,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s state planning and research program. The Will County Center for Economic Development will contribute $50,000 to the study.

Schneider said her firm still is pursuing a couple other options to cover more of the remaining $200,000 or so.

Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, said the county was rushing to meet a grant deadline in January, but then the federal government changed the deadline to December.

“We were never going to be able to meet that deadline,” he said, adding that this provides the chance to be more comprehensive with the study and deliver the best outcome.

Schneider originally signed a contract for $150,000 over seven months, which was going to expire in March. Adding on three months to it will cost $55,000, at the same monthly pay rate.

Moustis proposed renegotiating the contract to keep Schneider on in a retainer type of role for three years. The cost of that was not discussed.

The Will County State’s Attorney’s Office will negotiate the contract with Schneider. The committee hopes to have the contract ready for approval by the full County Board later this month.

From 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, the county will be taking note of community input at a public forum about transportation issues. There also will be a workforce forum later this month. The date is yet to be announced.

In March, the team will provide county leaders with a “more robust” update, Schneider said.

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