(KMOV) – A veto session in the Missouri Legislature will free up hundreds of thousands of dollars that will help create jobs in Jefferson County.
The money will be used for construction at the “Port of Jefferson County” in Herculaneum, which is projected to create thousands of jobs over the next few years.
The legislature did not override the governor’s veto of a tax cut, money withheld from the budget will be released, including $422,000 for the Jefferson County port.
Jack Hardesty of Herculaneum did not know Jefferson County had a port, which seemed to be the case for most residents.
A new bridge was finished in Herculaneum a year ago which opened a truck route and got the ball rolling on this project.
It’s now ready to load sand, and other products onto barges and the new money from the state will help it expand.
Port Authority Chairman Dan Govero explained that the port will be attractive to shippers who want to put together large flotillas with 40 barges. They're more cost effective but restricted upriver in St. Louis.
"We’re not restricted with bridges or locks and dams. We have an open channel which gives us access for freight to New Orleans with the bigger barges."
Right now the port is operating on 18 acres formally owned by Doe Run, but the company has agreed with the EPA to close its lead smeltering plant in Herculaneum, remove it and the smoke stack. Eventually, the port hopes to buy that land and create a 350-400 acre industrial park and attract new businesses to it.
Already businesses are calling up to ask about the port. Projections show it could create 6,000 to 7,000 jobs in the next twenty years.
Next week, they plan to hold a grand opening.