This morning, I blogged about why we need Congress to pass transportation investments that will put people back to work, and there may be no better example of a job-creating transportation project than "America's Central Port." At this hub of the Tri-Cities Port District, barges, trains, and trucks--and the men and women who operate them--transfer cargo to get their goods where they need to go.
Last Friday, I joined my good friend U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello in Granite City, Illinois, to sign a grant agreement for work to expand operations at the hub's innovative South Harbor. This is a terrific project because it will create good jobs for construction workers who need them while also increasing the competitiveness of the Midwest's farmers and other shippers.
The new facility's key advantage is its ideal location. It will connect major rail lines and four interstate highways with the Mississippi River. Because the South Harbor is below the last lock on the river, barges loaded there can travel south to New Orleans without interruption. That means increased efficiency and lower transportation costs, particularly for American farm products. This will make American products more competitive in the global market, fueling long term economic growth.
As the Port District's executive director, Dennis Wilmsmeyer, said, "This new harbor will create a new global maritime gateway, utilizing the marine highway of the Mississippi river to transport cargo from Chicago, Illinois and points north to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.”
And that means jobs.