Governor Jay Nixon visited yesterday the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority (Semo Port) on the Mississippi River south of Cape Girardeau to discuss why he is proposing an additional $5 million in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget to expand Missouri’s public ports.
Semo Port is one of 14 public port authorities in Missouri that have been formed to foster local economic development.
“Our ports are gateways to the world, and they are absolutely vital to using the rivers as a low-cost way to move what we produce to market, especially agricultural commodities. Helping our ports expand is a solid investment in our economy,” Nixon said.
The Waterways Unit of the Missouri Department of Transportation works with local governments in forming port authorities and provides technical assistance to the authorities to promote the use of the state’s navigable rivers to make low-cost waterborne transportation benefits available to businesses.
“With the expansion of the Panama Canal expected to be completed soon, Missouri’s exports should continue the growth they have seen, reaching record levels in recent years,” Nixon added.
“Strengthening and expanding our ports will help Missouri farmers and manufacturers reach those worldwide markets in a cost-effective manner, and further boost our exports and economy. An added benefit is that moving goods by barge also reduces truck traffic, saving wear and tear on our highways.”
Governor Nixon’s FY2017 budget includes a total of $8 million for capital improvement projects at the port authorities, an increase of $5 million from FY2016. The Governor submitted his proposed budget to the General Assembly on Wednesday, prior to his annual State of the State address.