Legislative Column for the Week of April 2, 2015
Economic Impact of Missouri Ports

The annual spring recess marks the half-way point for the legislative session. The first half is filled with introduction of bills, committee hearings and ushering bills through the beginning stages of the legislative process. Although we are coming into the final stretch, there is still much work to be done and many bills to consider.

One important task on my agenda is establishing funding for the Missouri Port Authorities. Last week, I signed a letter to the governor asking for the release of withheld funds for Missouri Port Authorities from the budget. The Legislature has always been steadfast in funding the Missouri Ports, but this year the governor withheld $3 million from the budget for our state’s ports infrastructure.

Missouri ports play a vital role in the transportation of Missouri’s goods. The state is currently able to access over 1,000 miles of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Annually, more than 300 million tons of cargo are transported throughout these waterways; this is equal to 12 million trucks transporting goods across Missouri highways. The counties in my district are located on the Mississippi River. Transportation through these ports generates a large part of the 27th Senatorial District’s economic income, and serves as the main mode of transportation for our crops.

Due to the large amount of investment Missouri ports have attracted through private industries Missouri has seen a 75 percent increase in freight tonnage moving through its ports. With state funding Missouri will be able to improve our economic standing and transportation infrastructure. Businesses will also have multiple modes of transportation choices leading to increased efficiency and profitability for industries in Missouri.

In addition to the $960 million in exports Missouri ports account for $123.8 million of net revenue.  Ports have also seen large increases in employment in the industries of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; manufacturing; transportation and warehousing; and retail trade.

The governor has continually discussed the importance of our ports and its economic development. It only makes sense that funds being withheld be released to support economic growth. The House did not include funds for Missouri ports in their version of the budget. We are working toward adding funding into the budget in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Missouri’s ports have a long standing history of success within the state. Whether it is through job creation, export expansion or attracting private funding and customers, it is clear that Missouri ports are essential for the state’s economic growth. It is time Missouri starts investing in its economic future.

I look forward to returning from spring recess and tackling the important issues in an effort to provide an economically stronger state and better way of life for all Missourians.

I urge you to contact me with any questions or concerns you have about state government so that I can better represent you during the 2015 Legislative Session.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Wayne Wallingford, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email at wayne.wallingford@senate.mo.gov or www.senate.mo.gov/wallingford.

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