U.S. Department of Transportation Designates Two Missouri Waterways As Marine Highway Corridors
JEFFERSON CITY - America's Marine Highway Program, a new initiative to move more cargo on the water rather than on crowded highways, includes two Missouri waterways. The designation means the potential for special federal funding that would provide port improvements for shippers along these marine corridors.
A good portion of one of the marine corridors includes the Missouri River from Kansas City to St. Louis. It is called the M-70 because it will potentially reduce freight truck congestion on Interstate 70. The new M-55 marine corridor includes the Mississippi River, which incorporates St. Louis, and is expected to reduce freight truck congestion along Interstate 55.
These marine highway corridor designations by the U.S. Department of Transportation strengthen goals set by the Missouri Department of Transportation to increase waterway traffic and better use the state's tremendous river assets. One barge holds the equivalent of 15 rail cars and 70 freight trucks. Shipping via the Missouri and Mississippi rivers also significantly reduces gas emissions.
"This designation is important because it fortifies MoDOT's efforts to develop all forms of transportation to their full extent," said Brian Weiler, MoDOT multimodal director. "Waterway shipping will reduce interstate congestion, air emissions and provide an economic benefit for Missouri as we try to compete in a fast-growing global marketplace."
In conjunction with these marine corridor designations, MoDOT has led meetings all week with numerous waterway stakeholders to discuss ways to develop the Missouri River to its full capacity. MoDOT's freight development unit has been working for close to a year to identify and prioritize strategies to increase freight traffic on Missouri waterways.