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Proposed study would look at cost of building port authority in Jefferson City area

Businesses may soon have another way to transport large loads of products to Mid-Missouri.

The Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce is working to start a study to see if building a port authority along the Missouri River near Jefferson City would be feasible.

Right now, the Jefferson City Council and the Cole County and Callaway County commissions are all considering if they will take part in a three-way partnership and contribute funds to the study.

There are currently 15 port authorities across the state. Only one is located in Mid-Missouri, directly across the Missouri River from Boonville.

But the Chamber of Commerce wants to change that.

“What we want to be able to do is to have a center location so that a logistics center for road, rail and river transportation… so grain, large products, all those kind of things that businesses use and they need to get from one place to the other,” said Randy Allen, who is president of the chamber.

If approved, the study will look at how much it would cost to build a port at two potential locations. One proposed site is in east Jefferson City between the Missouri National Guard and Algoa Correctional Center. The other site is on the north side of the river in Callaway County, just west of the soccer and baseball fields off Highway 63.

The study is projected to cost $170,000.

The chamber has asked the City Council and the two county commissions to each contribute $47,600. The remaining $27,200 would come from another funding source.

Aside from boosting the area’s economy, Allen said a local port authority would reduce semi traffic on the highways.

“It would reduce the amount of trucks on the highway, which you know, Missouri is struggling with its transportation funding and trying to figure out how to improve I-70 for example,” Allen said. “I don’t know how many trucks it would eliminate for every barge, but it’s a substantial amount.”

The Chamber of Commerce hopes to start the study in a month. If approved, it is expected to be completed by late fall, according to Allen.

Once the study is completed, the next step would be to get funding for the project through state, federal and private sources.

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