A southern Illinois lawmaker is heralding what he calls a key investment in the future economic development of the region.
State Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg says a million dollars in capital funding has been released for the proposed river port terminal in Cairo.
In a previous interview, Fowler said placing a port terminal at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers makes sense.
"There's actually more barge traffic that flows by the City of Cairo than goes through the Panama Canal. 80% of the inland barge traffic flows by Cairo and the State of Illinois doesn't benefit from it."
Fowler said this will provide an economic boost for the entire region.
"All of southern Illinois and the region will benefit by being able to transport containers and aggregate and coal and grain and liquids."
Officials say the proposed location for the port will be unique because it'll be situated next to the Canadian National Railroad running from Chicago to New Orleans and near three major Illinois interstates.
According to the Alexander-Cairo Port District, over a dozen companies have expressed interest in the project. The permitting process is expected to take about two years.