U.S. Congressman Jason Smith announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) has awarded $400,000 to the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority (Semo Port) to support dredging activities for the harbor. Semo Port is essential to support Southeast Missouri’s rural economy. However, in recent Army Corps budgets funding has not been sufficient for yearly dredging activities. This $400,000 award ensures those activities can take place. For years Congressman Jason Smith has been a strong supporter of Semo Port. In 2018 he helped secure $19.8 million in funding for completion of a loop track terminal to increase port capacity and he has consistently called on the Corps to fully fund harbor dredging activities. Inland ports allow rural America to participate and compete in global commerce. Without them our rural economies cannot survive. Rep. Smith will continue to advocate for strong funding from the Corps to ensure that port functions are never in jeopardy. Located on the Mississippi River, the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority offers slackwater harbor, public terminals, interstate highway access, switching railroad (UP, BNSF), industrial sites, complete utilities, and much more.
“It’s not just our rural economy in Southeast Missouri that depends on small ports like Semo Port but our entire inland waterway commerce system,” said Rep. Jason Smith. “Our small ports cannot be left behind. I’m thankful that the Corps has awarded this funding to support the farmers and small businesses that rely on the port to get their goods to market.”
“Inland ports are the access points and can even be called the on-ramps to the marine highway system. Without these on-ramps, it greatly diminishes the overall value and function of the marine highway system,” said Cary G. Harbison, P.E. Executive Director, Semo Port. “Semo Port is one of those access points and we are very excited to hear that funding was made available by the Corps to complete the dredging of the harbor in 2021. Keeping the harbor open when lower water conditions occur is very important to the area.”