Port Authority examines how to use MoDOT funds


The Heartland Port Authority is exploring how best to use nearly $ 1 million of state transportation funds to create a port on the Missouri River near Jefferson City.

The authority received $ 961,994 from the Missouri Department of Transport Capital Improvement Project Fund.

In a meeting on Wednesday, Stacey Fowler, head of waterways at MoDOT, told council members that the money could be used for things such as land acquisition, construction and the development of terminal facilities. . However, it cannot be used for operations and regular maintenance, she said.

Fowler said the funds must be used by the end of the fiscal year, which for the state is June 30.

During his presentation, Fowler noted that one port in the region – the Howard / Cooper County Port Authority near Boonville – used its MoDOT funding for the refurbishment of the docks.

“I want to encourage you to keep moving forward because I can tell you that you are progressing further than you think,” said Fowler. “There are a lot of hoops to go through, but I really believe you can be up and running in five years.”

Heartland Port Authority Chairman Roger Fischer said he appreciated Fowler’s encouragement, but hoped they could act faster, believing they should take advantage of the current political climate that appears to favor the development of ports along rivers.

Meanwhile, the council is looking to see how it can get the money to fully fund what it thinks it has to pay for pre-planning and licensing for a port site. This total amount is just over $ 1.2 million. With nearly $ 962,000 from the MoDOT, as well as a $ 120,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture, the council is examining potential grants that could cover the remaining $ 120,500.

On Wednesday, the authority’s consultant, Barr Engineering, outlined the recommended next steps for the three sites under consideration for one port.

The three sites are:

• North Site One, which stretches approximately 22 acres north of the Missouri River and is currently owned by OCCI Inc., is accessible from Missouri 94.

• The South Site, which spans approximately 118 acres south of the Missouri River, is accessible from No More Victims Road. In 2020, the Legislature and Governor Mike Parson approved a move to transfer this state-owned land just east of the Ike Skelton Training Center to the Port Authority for potential port development. Missouri River.

• North Site Two, which stretches approximately 3 acres north of the Missouri River and is currently privately owned, sits directly east of Capital Sand Company.

For all sites, Barr recommended that the board conduct an environmental assessment to determine if there were any active hazardous clean-up sites and other similar issues to address before land deals took place. Barr also suggested reviewing the titles of official boundaries and potential easements, and determining whether proposed projects at each site would require modifications to mitigate the impacts of flooding.

In August, the designated North Site One was determined by Barr as the best location of the three potential sites because it has existing infrastructure and fewer barriers to obtaining permits. The critical issue with the site is that it is located in a bypass channel, which could impact infill and permanent structures.

The southern site is primarily located in a flood-prone area, but may be subject to wetlands and cultural resources impacting permit requirements and site use.

North Side Two is located in a diversion channel and is smaller than the other two sites, but the existing infrastructure on the neighboring property can be useful, according to port officials.

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