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Business Interests Pushing New Barge Plan along Mississippi

Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)
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Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The Mighty Mississippi at St. Louis could soon see something new out on the river.

St. Louis and dozens of other cities along the river are supporting a plan to let barges carry shipping containers.

You see them now on trains or tractor trailers, but Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, says they are coming to the Mississippi. The group represents 61 mayors in 10 states, and is lobbying the Department of Transportation to change the rules to allow the shipping containers on barges.

“St. Louis, like many cities on the Mississippi River, has a large port,” he says. “Some cities have small ports, and the city of St. Louis is one of the largest. More port activity means more economic activity for those host cities, including St. Louis.”

While Wellenkamp says there is money to be made, he says there’s also concerns about protecting the river from hazardous cargo spills.

“That is a major issue for the mayors,” he says. “Back in January, we had a major chemical spill on a river in West Virginia, and that polluted a surface water drinking source for West Virginian counties. That is a major concern, and certainly something that the mayors care about.”

Some 60 mayors in ten states, including Mayor Slay, are backing the plan asking the DOT for regulatory changes to allow shipping containers on the river.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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