Alexander - Cairo Port District   News 

Foundation Invests $100,000 In Alexander-Cairo Port District

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 9:45am admin



The Alexander-Cairo Port District plans to hit the ground running in 2018 on its proposed port development, thanks in part, district officials said, to a $100,000 contribution from the Rauner Family Foundation.

Larry Klein, chairman of the port district, thanked the Rauner Foundation “for their generous gift.” 

“This donation will give us the ability to create marketing materials and begin calling on companies in the next few months to secure their genuine interest in the Cairo port,” Klein said in a news release.

“If enough companies commit to use the port...that will open the door for us to secure additional funding for development in 2018 and beyond,” he said.

Klein said that State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, was instrumental in working with Gov. Bruce Rauner to secure the donation.

“The governor and I have had some lengthy discussions about how to jump start the economy in Southern Illinois – particularly with the port for Cairo,” Fowler said. 

“As we pursue state, federal and private funding, the foundation’s contribution will get us what we need to get to that next phase.”

The port district plans to quickly begin meeting with companies throughout the Midwest and Canada. 

The port district is targeting industries that currently move bulk products by utilizing both rail and river for import/export from the upper Midwest and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.  

Targeted industries include seed grains, value added agriculture products, fertilizer, potash, coal and value added chemical products in liquid form.

“We’re a great state with great resources and even better people. We need to seize the opportunities to attract new jobs and businesses to Illinois,” Rauner said. 

“This is an investment in the future of Southern Illinois and the state as a whole.”

A consortium of area companies is working with the port district to look for opportunities and open doors that could lead to firm commitments, and ultimately funding, for a river port terminal at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in Cairo.

“This port will not only benefit Cairo and Alexander County, but it will help all of deep Southern Illinois prosper in the future by making it easier for farmers, mining companies and industrial firms to get their products to market more efficiently and cost effectively than they do now,” Klein said.

“Once the port is fully developed in the next few years we believe business’ and people will call Cairo home once again," Klein concluded.

Illinois Budget Includes $1 Million For Cairo Port Project​



The struggling river town of Cairo, Ill., will get $1 million to support a project to revive it as a river port in the Illinois state budget signed June 4 by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

It was Rauner’s first budget since he took office in January 2015. The budget process has been marked by bitter wrangling and partisan deadlock between the Republican Rauner and the Democratic-controlled legislature since he was elected. The main issue is what to do about the state’s crushing debt. Illinois is faced with $203 billion in unfunded obligations, or debt, mainly for state and local retirement benefits.

In 2017, the state’s credit rating was downgraded by credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings to BBB-, the lowest of any state, just one notch above a noninvestment-grade, or “junk,” rating. S&P also placed the state rating on “negative” watch, meaning the agency could downgrade Illinois again in the near future.

In a state where partisanship paralyzes many initiatives, members of both parties are agreed on efforts to revive Cairo. A group of local and state officials have been working for years to re-establish it as a port town. The Alexander-Cairo Port District has existed on paper since 2010 and has had a full complement of members since 2014. It is moving ahead with plans for reviving the port.

Earlier this year, the port received a grant of $100,000 from the Rauner Family Foundation (WJ, February 12).

That money is being used to update a plan for the port that was created several years ago by St. Louis, Mo.-based CDG Engineering.

It is being updated to reflect changing market conditions by Ely Consulting Group Ltd., a business consultant firm based in Springfield, Ill.

On his website, Illinois State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) said, “This budget contains an encouraging investment in the river port project for Cairo and the rest of Southern Illinois, directing much-needed funding toward permitting and design costs for the project. The river port would have a major economic impact on our region, and I’m encouraged that this budget package recognizes the project’s possibilities.”

“The river port project would help revitalize an economically deprived community in our state which has so much untapped potential,” said Rauner. “I would like to applaud Sen. Fowler for his hard work on this ongoing project and look forward to the future developments on this exciting public-private investment for the state and the region.”

Alexander - Cairo Port District

PO Box 591
1100 Commercial Avenue
Cairo, Illinois 62914

Phone: 618-734-3200

© 2018 by Alexander Cairo Port District. This website was funded by a grant from the Rauner Family Foundaton