Cairo Port District Takes Another Step Forward
Governor JB Pritzker and State Senator Dale Fowler visited the southern tip of Illinois Thursday to announce a new milestone in the effort to construct a Port District in Cairo.
In April, the Alexander-Cairo Port District completed a project labor agreement with the Illinois AFL-CIO to allow for more than 500 local Illinois union workers to fill the jobs created by construction of the port.
On Thursday, Labor Local 773 signed on to provide workers for the project.
Alexander-Cairo Port District Chairman Larry Klein says they're currently going through the engineering and design work.
"Because anyone in the construction trades realizes you have to have a floor plan before you start constructing anything. So, when we get the floor plan designed that's when we're going to put all the people here today to work. That will tickle me to death."
Governor Pritzker says he's proud to be part of a major investment in the southern Illinois economy.
"When this project is complete. Hundreds of millions of dollars from the public and private sector will have been invested right here and the barge traffic that comes through here everyday will make Cairo a state-of-the-art port and cargo hub for the entire nation."
80% of U.S. inland barge traffic travels past Cairo.
Pritzker says the Cairo Port District will be an example of Illinois' leadership in helping rebuild the nation's infrastructure.
Last year, Pritzker announced 40-million dollars in Rebuild Illinois funds.
State Senator Dale Fowler -- who has championed the Cairo Port District for years --
says the port district concept is also bringing hope back to the community.
"Such as Preserving Cairo—Gateway to the South. The Cairo Historical Preservation Project that has recently been created. We're having individuals born and raised here in this area coming back to put their sweat equity back into this community and preserve it to the rich history that it once was and actually the rich history that it still has."
Fowler says people can learn more about the preservation effort by going to the website historicalcairo.com.