Durbin and Quad Cities leaders discuss importance of Rock Island Arsenal at annual meeting

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

In a meeting with leaders from the Quad Cities region who were in Washington, D.C. for their annual fly-in, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Feb. 27 discussed his continued commitment to working in Congress to support and promote the Rock Island Arsenal. He stressed to the group organized by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce that even with the threat of upcoming budget cuts, he and the rest of the Illinois / Iowa Congressional Delegation remain fully engaged ensuring the long-term strength and security of the Arsenal. Durbin was recently named Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the military and intelligence community, the nation’s national security requirements and the daily needs of over two million active duty and reserve servicemembers.

“This annual meeting of leaders from the Quad Cities brings together local officials and business representatives from both sides of the river and both political parties. Leading the agenda this year is the future of the Rock Island Arsenal— a major employer for the Quad Cities and a source of some of the most sophisticated engineering in the region. Although I am very concerned about the potential impact of sequestration on the Arsenal—which could suffer up to $197 million in cuts—I remain absolutely committed to maintaining the Quad Cities’ leadership role supporting and promoting our nation’s defense,” Durbin said.

The QC delegation has a strong history of coming together to promote a collective agenda for the betterment of the entire region. The group played an integral role in securing a $230 million federal grant to bring Amtrak service from Chicago to the Quad Cities. The line will create nearly 600 jobs per year in the first four years of design and construction and will make two daily roundtrips with an estimated annual ridership of 246,800. They also worked to secure $10 million in TIGER grant funding for the construction of an intermodal station which will serve as the Quad Cities stop for Amtrak service in downtown Moline.

Quad Cities Chamber represents more than 2,400 businesses and organizations in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties in Illinois and Scott County in Iowa. Among the representatives at today’s meeting were: Moline Mayor Don Welvaert, East Moline Mayor John Thodos, Rock Island Alderman P.J. Foley, Quad Cities Chamber CEO Tara Barney, Moline City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher, Project Manager of the Bi-State Regional Commission Mark Hunt, Renew Moline Executive Director Janet Mathis, and Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau Vice President Lynn Hunt.