Spur Economic Development, Increase Export Opportunities
Jun 19 2012
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) today announced a $10.9 million grant to expand rail infrastructure at the West Memphis Port.
Members of the delegation said the funds will jumpstart the expansion of the West Memphis Intermodal project, which will increase the industrial and bulk shipping capabilities of the area. Specifically, the $10.9 million will strengthen current rail to allow for heavier cargo loads and extend the existing rail spur by approximately 13,500 feet to the base of the St. Francis Levee. This would allow access to the Port of West Memphis by truck and conveyor and provide for a multimodal transload facility to support expanded export cargo of bulk commodities.
“Expanding the shipping capabilities of the West Memphis Port is one the most promising opportunities we have to create jobs in the region. In fact, I understand a number of companies, ranging from agriculture to steel, have been waiting on this news,” Pryor said. “To say I’m excited about these funds is an understatement.”
“This project will help better facilitate the use of inland waterways and allow Arkansas companies to easily promote their goods and move them around the world. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, communities like West Memphis uniquely situated along waterways are positioned to benefit from the increased opportunities,” Boozman said.
“The West Memphis Port is a regional hub for shipping goods throughout the country and around the world. These funds will provide great opportunity for farmers and businesses in Arkansas’s First District who are looking to expand their market reach. I look forward to working with officials at the port to continue expanding economic opportunity,” Crawford said.
The $10,953,244 grant comes from the Department of Transportation’s TIGER IV (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant program that invests in transportation projects that will have a significant economic impact on the region and nation.