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Heartland Port Authority explores concepts for river development

Representatives from the newly formed Heartland Port Authority traveled to southeast Missouri Thursday to explore the South East Missorouri and New Madrid ports and learn about their development and economic impact.

“This could be the biggest thing to happen to Jefferson City and Cole County since the Capital was established here in 1826,” said Presiding Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman.

Bushman was among the group of city and county leaders who toured the sites, as was Kris Scheperle, Cole County’s western district commissioner and member of the Port Authority.

Scheperle said nearly all options are being explored to fund development in the district.

“Everything’s on the table, from Economic Development Administration funding to job creation to incentives to bring companies in there … but I don’t think a tax would be well-received unless there was a major employer willing to relocate,” said Scheperle.

The Missouri Department of Transportation Waterways Administrator Cheryl Ball said all of Missouri’s 12 operating river ports have bolstered the local and state economies.

An economic impact report was published by MoDOT in 2018, a summary of which can be read by following this link.

The full, 98-page report can be viewed by following this link.

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