CAIRO – July 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law to create the Alexander-Cairo Port District. The port district will spur job creation and promote economic development in Southern Illinois by creating new foreign trade opportunities in the state.
“During these difficult economic times, we must continue to do everything possible to create jobs and strengthen our economy,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law gives us another tool for attracting and retaining key investments in the state, creating jobs and improving our economic competitiveness.”
Senate Bill 575 creates the Alexander-Cairo Port District and gives it the authority to oversee, operate, and maintain port-related facilities and export trade companies within the boundaries of the district. The district is modeled after the Massac-Metropolis Port District, which Governor Quinn signed into law last year.
The Alexander-Cairo Port District will be managed by a seven-person board. The Governor appoints four members, the chairperson of the Alexander County Board appoints two members and the mayor of Cairo appoints one member. Board members are uncompensated.
SB 575 was sponsored by Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Representative Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg). The bill is effective immediately.
Creation of a port district and intermodal facility will help lift the overall economy of Alexander County and the surrounding area. Given its location as a hub on the inland river system at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, railroad lines and Interstate 57, Cairo is well-positioned to take advantage of increased shipping activity that is expected as a result of the establishment of the new district. Illinois has 18 port districts statewide.