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St. Louis Port District Seeks Expansion

The Port Authority Commission of the Port of St. Louis (Mo.) is seeking to expand its jurisdictional borders to include the city limits. Its borders currently are limited to a 19-mile stretch of Mississippi River frontage. A January 9 meeting of the Port Authority Commission was devoted to this issue. The port authority is overseen by the St. Louis Development Corporation, led by Otis Williams.

Port Director Susan Taylor told The Waterways Journal the expansion would bring the port in line with other port districts in the state. “There are 14 port districts in the state of Missouri, and the rest of them have boundaries that include their whole city’s municipal boundaries,” she said.

The expanded boundaries would “allow us to look at freight and freight movement holistically,” she said. A new state law also allows the creation of development areas called Advanced Industrial Manufacturing Zones. Port authorities can create them within their boundaries, and use them to capture certain revenues, such as half of state withholding taxes paid from new jobs if the workers make at least the state’s average wage.

The state law that allows the creation of port authorities and defines their powers is in Chapter 68 of the state statutes. Port authorities can buy and sell and issue bonds on behalf of port tenants.

Members of the port commission unanimously endorsed the idea. Taylor said she knows of no opposition to the expansion.

The next step is to get approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, one of whose members sits on the port commission. After that, approval must come from the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission, a six-member board that governs the Missouri Department of Transportation.

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