Southeast Missouri Port Gets $19.8 Million BUILD Grant For Rail Loops
Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Jason Smith announced on their websites December 6 that the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority (SEMO Port) will receive a $19.8 million grant through the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program.
The federal BUILD Program was formerly named the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recover, or TIGER discretionary grants. Among the requirements of the BUILD program are that at least 30 percent of funds must be awarded to projects in rural areas, that a single state can be awarded no more than $150 million, and that no single project can be awarded more than $25 million.
Located on the Mississippi River near Scott City, Mo., SEMO Port includes a slack water harbor, public terminals, interstate highway access, switching railroad (UP, BNSF) and industrial sites with complete utilities. The port moves about 1.5 million tons of cargoes annually by all transportation modes.
According to SEMO Port Executive Director Cary Harbison, the funding will go toward the construction of two 12,000-foot long rail loops near the port. The money will become available in about a year, after the agreement process is completed, but Harbison told local media that grading work has already begun.
“The SEMO Port plays a critical role in our state’s economy, especially when it comes to moving our ag products to market,” said Blunt. “This project will help ensure the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority is able to continue building upon the steady growth they’ve achieved over the years. I appreciate Congressman Smith’s partnership in securing this funding and look forward to continuing to work with the port authority to make sure they have the support they need.”
“I’ve been happy to fight for and support this project along with Senator Blunt,” said Smith. “This investment in southeast Missouri will allow our farmers, ranchers, and workers to move more of their products to market more efficiently and boost the local economy. I’ve always believed our area is home to the finest farmers and workers in the world, and I’m excited that more businesses will be attracted to southern Missouri as we continue to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century.”