Port near Jefferson City gains approval from state transportation commission


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With the state’s transportation commission’s approval, the creation of a regional port in the heart of the Show-Me State is on the verge of reality.

On Wednesday, the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved an application to create the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri. There are two sites on the Missouri River near Jefferson City under consideration for the port.

The Cole and Callaway County Commissions joined the Jefferson City Council in early July in supporting the effort, spearheaded by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, to move forward to find funding to help realize the project to establish a port authority on the Missouri River.

The Jefferson City Council unanimously approved a resolution in the first week of July authorizing a partnership between the city, Cole County and Callaway County to establish the regional port district.

Now with approval from the state, the project can continue moving forward.

The proposed idea consists of two different plans. The first would build a port on the Missouri River in southern Jefferson City, adjacent to the Missouri National Guard’s Ike Skelton Training Facility. The second option would build ports on that same site, as well as on a site along the Missouri River near OCCI Inc. on the Callaway County side.

The Callaway County Commission, Cole County Commission, Jefferson City Council and the chamber hired Atlanta consultancy firm Cambridge Systematics last year to conduct a feasibility study of a Missouri River port, which found that a Jefferson City port could potentially create more than 4,000 jobs, as well as generate an economic impact of between $200 million and $581 million, over a 25-year-period.

The two counties and the city are seeking about $900,000 in federal grant money, which they say they will match 20 percent if they receive it.

Could Jefferson City be home to the next Missouri River port?