Regional Support Needed for Quincy Port

Quincy, IL – A tri-state commission is looking for money and regional support as it works to build a port facility in Quincy.

The Mid-America Port Commission was formed after the flood of 1993. The organization has been working to develop intermodal transportation opportunities on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

The commission has applied for $50-million in federal stimulus funds to build the port along the Mississippi River. Commissioner Douglas Aeilts says an additional $11-million dollars has already been committed to the project.

Aeilts says the project is considered "shovel-ready" as environmental testing of the land near Lock & Dam 21 is nearly complete. He says that and the fact that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants money designated for port projects should help in the application process.

Aeilts says the commission is now looking for the backing of the 26 member counties in Northeast Missouri, Southeast Iowa, and West Central Illinois. He says the panel is seeking letters of support, not money.

Aeilts says the Mid-America Port Commission is focusing on the six member counties in Iowa because that state's participation in the commission has waned in recent years. He says talks are underway to appoint new Iowa representatives to the nine-member oversight board.

Aeilts says the organization also wants to establish a foreign trade zone in Quincy, with subzones throughout the tri-state region. He says the project should have no bearing on the work of the Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors could decide, as early as next week, whether to support the project. Aeilts says he is trying to set up a meeting with the Des Moines County Board of Supervisors.