After receiving notice that Governor Pritzker’s Fiscal Year 2021 Capital budget had been filed and includes funding for the Alexander-Cairo Port District, State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) is cautiously optimistic that the Cairo River Port Terminal project is gaining momentum.
Senate Bill 3923, which was filed on Feb. 21, includes $40 million for the Alexander-Cairo Port District for the planning, design and construction of a new river port.
“While I understand that we have a ways to go before funding is guaranteed for the port terminal, this is encouraging news for a project that would revive a portion of our state that has been neglected and overlooked for far too long,” said Senator Fowler. “A port terminal would truly be a victory for Southern Illinois and beyond, bringing opportunity to the region and the entire Midwest.”
Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the port terminal presents a number of geographical advantages for a transportation hub.
“We have this natural opportunity in Southern Illinois where this port can be constructed, ideally situated for transportation of goods, products and containers,” said Fowler. “We are finally capitalizing on this existing resource and creating economic opportunity desperately needed in Southern Illinois.”
Sen. Fowler also points out that the construction of the port terminal project alone will have a direct impact on employment figures, creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the Southern Illinois economy.
Meanwhile, several multi-billion dollar companies have expressed interest in the project and are awaiting the announcement that the terminal is moving forward, with the long-term expectations that the port will attract businesses and become a major transportation hub in the Midwest.
“There is so much potential in this port, and I’m excited that Governor Pritzker recognizes the opportunity for development in Southern Illinois,” said Sen. Fowler. “There is no doubt in my mind that when this terminal is constructed, the port will become the nation’s hub for river port transportation.”
Sen. Fowler also noted that while funding for the project is included in the current filed proposal from Gov. Pritzker, this is just a starting point and could be subject to change in the coming months as budget negotiations move forward. In the current legislation, funding for the river port terminal is found on page 12 of Senate Bill 3923 in section 211.