CAIRO, IL (WSIL) -- Governor JB Pritzker traveled to Cairo Tuesday to announce $40 million in state funding will be used toward building the Alexander-Cairo Port at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
"This is more than just a port. It's also fuel for new jobs and new economic prosperity all across this region. A region that's been left and left behind for far too long," said Gov. Pritzker.
The state will immediately grant $4 million for site preparations,
engineering and permitting.
"It will allow us to provide public services that our citizens deserve and bring back businesses like grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, the city needs," said Cairo Mayor Thomas Simpson.
The port is expected to create 500 jobs and be an economic boost for the region. It is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $75 million to build.
"Today we begin the mission of establishing Cairo, Illinois as the nation's hub for river port transportation opportunities, which will upon completion of the one of the largest economic development investments made in southern Illinois in decades," said Illinois Senator Dale Fowler a key supporter of the plan.
According to the port district, 80% of the nation's inland barge traffic travels past Cairo each year. Some major commodities include crops, containers, and bulk products.
The Alexander-Cairo Port District is expected to begin development by January 2021.
"Rebuild Illinois is really about investing in the long-term impact so that we can have true economic success for our entire state," said Gov. Pritzker.