Ports & Terminals

$1 Million In Capital Funding For Cairo, Ill., Port Development Released

A total of $1 million in capital funding has been released for the proposed river port terminal in the city of Cairo, signaling a key investment in the future economic development of Southern Illinois. The announcement was made by Illinois state Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), a key figure promoting the reviving of the port. Appropriated as part of the current FY2019 state budget, the $1 million will be used to fund permitting, engineering, and design costs for the port terminal.

“This funding is a commitment to a project that is critical to the people of Cairo and surrounding communities, demonstrating that the state is invested in working to revitalize the area,” said Fowler. “I’m encouraged to see these funds go toward a project that will bring jobs, prosperity and opportunities to the region.”

“The Cairo Port will act as an economic catalyst for revitalizing Cairo and Alexander County, and all of Southern Illinois,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose private family foundation has also given money to Cairo. “It’s time to put taxpayers’ dollars to work for the people of Illinois and invest in infrastructure, build our economy, and create greater access to jobs.”

“Southern Illinois has such potential that has gone unrecognized and underutilized for too long,” said Fowler. “This port is a path forward for recovery, capitalizing on Cairo’s location and creating the potential for future economic growth.”

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“A port terminal for Southern Illinois would benefit over a dozen counties in Southern Illinois, bringing economic development and growth to the region,” said Todd Ely, president of Ely Consulting Group. “With this funding, we can continue moving this project forward, attracting interested businesses and making real headway on revitalizing the area.”

Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Cairo was an important inland port throughout most of the 19th century. It began a long decline in the 1960s and has few residents or businesses today.

“We know that developing a river port terminal would create widespread opportunity for business development and industry expansion. If we create this port authority, businesses will come, revenue will be generated and jobs will be created,” said Fowler. “This funding marks a major milestone for this project, signaling that progress is underway. I’m excited to build off this momentum and continue our efforts to give Cairo and Southern Illinois a brighter future.”

According to the Alexander-Cairo Port District, more than a dozen companies have expressed interest in the port project. Having received these funds, the project will move forward with all capital funding to be expended by June 30, 2019, and permitting expected to be completed within 24 months.