Plans to create a "Marine Highway" connecting Kansas City to Sioux City, Iowa via the Missouri River have received renewed attention.
Ten members of congress are pushing forward to develop the marine highway, which supporters say could win millions of dollars in federal funding and bring back barge traffic along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
The Missouri River is really what put Kansas City on the map 150 years ago. Now, supporters say there is a growing push for green energy, and the river could be the future of economy in the Midwest.
Historically the Missouri Department of Transportation hasn't paid a lot of attention to river navigation and barge transportation, but now they're looking heavily at the thought of bringing it back.
If the marine highway is approved, ports and terminals along the stretch between Kansas City and Sioux City will be able to apply for money through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration.
The idea is to alleviate traffic on our highways by using our waterways to transport freight. It could also mean booming business as new ports open along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
The Kansas City Port Authority president Michael Collins says in a way, it's repeating history, but water born commerce could be a huge step in reducing our carbon footprint and alleviating traffic on our jam-packed roadways.
"The main message I want people in Kansas City to understand is this: We really need to be a water town again like we were over 150 years ago,” Collins explained. “We want people to look at the river and know we have a resource a lot of people would be jealous of today.”
He went on to say, "We have a lot of analysis and data on our side because of congested roadways. The interconnectivity of rail is very effective. We want to mimic that in the inland river system."
The Port Authority is working to bring in a private partner to revitalize the Kansas City port and get it back up and running.
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