Some Lawmakers Want New Port Terminal at Cairo

May 10, 2017

A group of lawmakers is trying to boost the economy in Illinois' southernmost city.

This week, State Senator Dale Fowler, representatives with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth as well as Congressman Mike Bost's office met with Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill to talk about a proposed port terminal project for Cairo.

Masingill says the leaders are looking for a financial commitment from his organization.
 
"That would be centered around potentially infrastructure. It could be centered around other aspects to that, particularly site development, maybe some of the facility development, finishing up some of the engineering to really get a sense of what would be the next stage."

Masingill says this is a massive, long-term project.

"Just the site development and infrastructure alone is eight million. Then you've got the rail facilities that could be another seven million, the river dock facilities could be up to ten million, the grain handling facility could be up to 35 million."

Masingill says the DRA is interested in the project because of Cairo's proximity to the Mississippi River.
 
"It's what binds us together as a people. It's the glue. It is the economic artery for all eight states that comprise the Delta Regional Authority and certainly the impact that it has in touching so many different locations."

But, he says it's not a done deal.

"The other thing we have to consider is that we have existing ports and river terminals now that need continued investment for upgrade improvements for sustainability. So, there's still some big hurdles to overcome."

Masingill says an application for the new terminal must be submitted by the end of this month so the DRA can review it and determine if it can participate.