LaHood Joins Bipartisan Letter
Asking Army Corps to Grant Local Port Request
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[September 14, 2020]
Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL), Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), Cheri
Bustos (D-IL), and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) sent a bipartisan letter to
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday asking for expedited
approval of a local request to improve economic opportunity at Iowa
and Illinois ports along the Mississippi River.
The request asks the Corps to collectively designate the Mississippi
River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (MRPEIWI), the
Mid-America Port, and the Illinois Waterways Ports and Terminals as
the Corn Belt Port Statistical Areas. Approval of the statistical
area designations would make it easier for the ports to attract
business and investment.
"Recognition of this group of ports as a multi-modal port region
stands to benefit economies of the Tri-State area through better
regional marketing and more economic development opportunities,” the
members wrote in the letter. “It will help raise the region’s
profile to improve national and global visibility and
competitiveness, helping attract a wide range of public and private
investment. In 2017, each of these port areas moved over 6 million
tons of food and food products, making them some of the most active
ports on the Mississippi river."
"Access to inland waterways is critical to the economic viability of
our communities in central and west-central Illinois. Inland
waterways allow small businesses farmers, and manufacturers to
export commodities around the world and keep them competitive in the
global economy,” said Congressman Darin LaHood. “Establishing the
Corn Belt Ports as a statistical area in western Illinois and
eastern Iowa will facilitate greater regional coordination that will
raise the region’s global profile and bolster economic development.
I am proud to join this effort to strengthen economic opportunities
along waterways in the Tri-State Region."
"We must do everything we can to invest in water-transportation
infrastructure, support our river communities and open up new
opportunities for private investment,” Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer
said. “The Mississippi River is a national treasure, and an
essential transportation route for moving our agricultural products
into national and international markets. I’m proud to lift up the
voices of Iowa’s local communities and join my colleagues from
across the river in supporting this important designation."
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"Our inland waterways are critical to delivering tons of goods to market each
year and supporting the hard work of our agricultural producers,” Congresswoman
Cheri Bustos said. “This local economic driver provides our region with a
competitive edge and is a critical part of our transportation infrastructure.
I’m pleased to join my colleagues today to push to ensure the strength of our
waterways are recognized and supported into the future."
"Recognition of existing ports in the heart of the Corn Belt makes the
multi-state region more globally visible and competitive,” former Rock Island
District Commander Robert A. Sinkler, COL, U.S. Army (Ret.) said. “The
bipartisan leadership behind this initiative gives a big boost to realizing the
value of the region’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure to the nation
and the global marketplace."
Background on Mississippi River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (MRPEIWI):
The purpose of creating a Mississippi River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western
Illinois (MRPEIWI) Port Statistical Area is to highlight the importance of the
region in transporting goods. If approved, the Waterborne Commerce Statistics
Center (WCSC) would report data for the MRPEIWI and demonstrate that it ranks in
the top 100 ports in the United States, by tonnage moved.
This recognition would improve awareness of the importance of MRPEIWI and
promote usage of the Mississippi River for shipping goods. This would also raise
awareness of the importance of investing in inland waterway infrastructure.
The proposed MRPEIWI consists of existing ports and terminals along the
Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois from river mile 361.5 in Keokuk,
Iowa to river mile 580 in Dubuque, Iowa. MRPEIWI would encompass 50 existing
Iowa barge terminals, and about 20 existing barge terminals in Illinois.
[Congressman Darin LaHood]