Callaway County Commission approves funding for port study

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CALLAWAY COUNTY – A proposed port in Jefferson City is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Callaway County Commission voted June 23 to approve providing its portion of the funding necessary for a feasibility study of a possible multimodal port in Jefferson City.

Callaway County will contribute $47,600 to the study, which it is sharing with Cole County, Jefferson City and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann and Western District Commissioner Roger Fisher voted in favor of the proposal, while Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleindienst voted against it.

The proposed multimodal port, which would include access to barge, rail and highway transportation, would be a joint venture among Cole County, Callaway County, Jefferson City and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. The agencies would create a port authority that would own and maintain the port. 

"There's an increased interest in providing transportation on the rivers," Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce President Randy Allen said.

He said the port would allow companies to decrease their environmental footprint because barges can carry a lot more products than trucks at one time.

"You can transport a lot more via barge, much less expensive, than you can with trucks," Cole County Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman said.

He said the port would make it much easier for mid-Missouri's agriculture industry to export its livestock and crops.

Bushman also said the Missouri National Guard may be interested in using the port to ship military equipment.

The feasibility study will also help determine the best location for the port.