Economic Development News

Heartland Port Authority Approved
Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 10:30 am
By: Randy Allen


The proposed Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri took a giant step forward on Wednesday, September 6th as the MoDOT Commission formally approved our application to create a formal public port authority for Cole and Callaway counties. The original idea for a local port was developed by the Chamber in 2008 as a way to take advantage of our location on the river and the need for multimodal transportation options for our existing businesses and potential new projects. In 2015 the project redeveloped from a renewed interest in river freight and more congestions on the highways. A working group was established to move “PROJECT PORT” forward.


The first step was to seek a feasibility study on the concept. The study was commissioned in 2017 by the chamber with funding from Jefferson City, Cole County, Callaway County, and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. It was completed this spring and found that during a 25-year period from 2020 to 2045, the proposal was feasible. Although the cost to develop the two potential sites fully is $60 million, the project had a potential benefit/cost ratio of 4-1. With a positive result from the study, the chamber developed an application to MoDOT for a formal Port Authority approval.


Nearly at the same time, the Federal Department of Transportation issued a call for the yearly infrastructure funding opportunity known as “BUILD “grants. In the past this program has not provided an opportunity for planning funds only. This year this category was included in the “BUILD” program. This was perfect timing for the Port project. The chamber gathered the resources, with the partnership of the City and two partner counties and developed a request for nearly $1 million for the preliminary design and environmental permit work. The port authority authorization now allows us to more diligently lobby for the grant that was submitted in July.


Central to our local economic development strategy is the concept of developing, retaining, or attracting business activity that brings a flow of revenue into the community that in turn generates income and other jobs through economic multiplier effects.

The total anticipated economic benefits (including direct, indirect, and induced benefits) generated by development of the two sites identified in the Port project are as follows. Over a 25-year timeframe this opportunity, when fully developed, is expected to support 5,740 new jobs in the region, would add nearly $220,000,000 in new labor income and generate $349,000,000 in new GRP (Gross Regional Product) and generate $79 million in combined federal, state and local taxes.


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