JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Interim House Committee on Development and Improvement of Missouri Ports will hold their first hearing Wednesday to discuss and analyze the current state of Missouri’s ports in the face of changing global economy factors.
Speaker of the House Todd Richardson approved and appointed the committee in July at the urging of current committee chair Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus.
Ruth says Wednesday’s hearing will feature testimony from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Missouri Port Authority Association, the Missouri Soybean and Corn Growers Associations, among others, to give legislators background information on the functionality of Missouri’s ports.
The ultimate goal is for the committee to develop a strategic plan to better incorporate Missouri ports into both the state and global economies.
“We really saw the need to get a strong focus on where we need to go with our ports,” Ruth said. “Waterways are extremely important for businesses. We’re finding that it’s very cost effective to ship that way.”
With the planned 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal, as well as the United States’ normalizing relationship with Cuba, some analysts believe that it could lead to greater trade within the Gulf of Mexico, and therefore with the Mississippi River and all of the waterways that flow into it.
“It could mean a lot of industry and jobs that come to our state,” Ruth said.