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Illinois Port Facilities Capital Grant Program

The Illinois Port Facilities Capital Investment Grant Program provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of facilities within public port districts that are included in the Illinois Marine Transportation System (IMTS). The IMTS is comprised of ports located on these navigable waterways: the Mississippi River, Illinois River, Chicago Area Waterway System, Kaskaskia River, Ohio River, Lake Michigan, and the landside infrastructure that allows transportation to, from, and on water.

In the Spring of 2019, the Rebuild Illinois Capital Bill appropriated the sum of $150 million to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for the Illinois Port Capital Investment Grant Program with $40 million going directly to the Alexander-Cairo Port District.

The grant application process, eligibility requirements, selection process, and the restrictions on the use of the grant money was developed by a committee of staff from the IL Department of Transportation, IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, IL Environmental Protection Agency, IL Department of Natural Resources and have been formalized using the Legislative Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) process. IDOT sought input from, port stakeholders, and the public to develop this competitive program to prioritize grants for projects within public port districts to enhance the movement of commodities on the IMTS.

Goals of Port Facilities Capital Investment Grant Program

The Illinois Port Facilities Capital Investment Grant Program seeks to improve marine transportation throughout Illinois by implementing the goals of the 2020 Illinois Marine Transportation System Plan (IMTSP) and Economic Impact Analysis. The program has been developed to be application based, transparent and objective by using a quantitative ranking system based on the goals of the IMTSP. The following IMTSP goals will be used to establish scoring criteria:

  • Safety
    Improve public health and safety by reducing transportation-related fatalities and injuries as well as property damage only events.
  • Modal Connectivity
    Enhance integration and connectivity across and between transportation modes for Illinois and the nation resulting in increased multi-modal options for freight movement.
  • State of Good Repair
    Ensure Illinois proactively maintains critical transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.
  • Economic Competitiveness
    Promote transportation policies and investments that bring lasting economic benefits to Illinois, its citizens, and its businesses.
  • Mode Shift
    Shifting cargo to barge rather than to truck or rail may reduce local roadway and grade crossing damage and congestion throughout many communities.
  • Economic Opportunity
    Investments should increase opportunity for economically distressed areas.
  • Environmental Sustainability
    Advance environmentally sustainable policies and investments that reduce carbon and other harmful emissions from transportation sources.


Illinois has authorized $110 million in Illinois state port capital funds available for this program through the ReBuild Illinois Program. It is anticipated funds will be programmed over state fiscal years 2022 – 2025 based on the year in which funds are requested by applicants.


All Illinois public port districts are eligible to apply for funding under this grant program. Public port districts have been created through State Special District Statutes. Recipients of grants are referred to as "sponsors." Sponsors must be legally, financially, and otherwise able to carry out state assurances and obligations contained in the project application and grant agreement, including the ability to meet and comply with the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA).

2021 Grant Program