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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - State and local officials have broken ground on a $7 million project to build a road, rail lines and utilities to serve the future Port of East St. Louis.

Gov. Pat Quinn said at Thursday's ceremony that the port will be a major economic driver.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1BkgHc8 ) that the 200-acre multi-modal facility will eventually include cargo cranes, warehouses and public docks.

The project getting underway now will make it accessible to trucks, freight trains and barges hauling cargo.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks called it "one of the city's most important developments in decades."

Illinois' Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is funding $5 million of the cost for the project paving the way for the port. Another $1.2 million comes from the developer.

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Information from: Belleville News-Democrat, http://www.bnd.com

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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