An in depth report in The New Republic studied the effects of Elwood being the largest inland port in North America. Alexander Sammon joined the Scott Slocum show and says developers promised the tiny town of Elwood, good paying jobs, hotels and retail. But what they got was millions in debt. Elwood owes $30 million to CenterPoint.
The tax incentives for CenterPoint expire in 2022. Elwood residents say their property values have not gone up nor have they seen the retail and hotels promised. Sammon says the turmoil is “exacerbated by changes in the trucking industry, which has pivoted to an owner-operator model, relying on independent contractors over full-time employees. Oftentimes, truckers are paid per load – $50 to $70 to pick up a container from the Intermodal and drop it off at a warehouse. For independent contractors, responsible for their own gas and operating costs, speed is tantamount to profitability. A traffic jam can turn the trip from profit to loss. So truckers often take shortcuts down small residential roads, unequipped for weight and traffic, to shave valuable minutes off their commute.”
As for jobs, the threat of automation is being played out. This fall, IKEA opened in Joliet. The new warehouse is 1.25 million square feet and has a large automated operation. IKEA is currently hiring and will have between 250 and 300 full-time, permanent co-workers when fully staffed.
At Thursday’s (January 17) Joliet Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the committee will consider rezoning 330 acres in Joliet at Route 53 and Arsenal Road from residential to light industrial. More trucks in Will County. The meeting is open to the public. It’s at 4 p.m. at Joliet City Hall.
To hear the entire interview click below to read the full article click here.