WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Darin LaHood (IL-18) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) announced today that the recently federally-designated Corn Belt Ports were named as “Leading U.S. Ports in 2019” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ranking in the top 100 ports in the United States by tonnage moved.
The lawmakers recently announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the creation of the three Port Statistical Areas (PSAs) in the Heart of the Corn Belt, which includes key ports in Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The Corps designated the Mississippi River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (MRPEIWI), the Mid-America Port and the Illinois Waterways Ports and Terminals as the Corn Belt Port Statistical Areas. Approval of the statistical area designations will aid the ports in attracting business and investments, grow the local economy and create new jobs within the community.
“The ranking of the Corn Belt Ports in the top 100 brings national recognition to the critical role that our region and our inland waterways play in strengthening the nation’s economy,” Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said. “I was proud to work across the aisle to secure the federal designation of these ports and proud to see our ports continue to receive the recognition they deserve. Now, our work will continue as we utilize these rankings to raise awareness of the commodities produced by Northwest and Central Illinois’ farmers and manufacturers and the opportunities provided by our inland waterway systems to drive investment in the region.”
“Northeast Iowa communities already know how important our ports are, and today’s ranking only further proves it,” Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer said. “We scored a major bipartisan win recently by having Iowa’s ports designated as part of a Port Statistical Area, promising new opportunity and investment for our state. I’m happy to see our ports ranked in the top 100, and look forward to seeing them climb in these rankings.”
“Access to inland waterways is critical to the economic viability of our communities in central and west-central Illinois. Inland waterways allow small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers to export commodities around the world and keep them competitive in the global economy,” said Congressman Darin LaHood. “The recognition of the Corn Belt Ports as some of the best in the nation will only strengthen economic opportunities across our region. In Congress, I’ll continue to work with this bipartisan group to support the Corn Belt Ports.”
“The inclusion of all three Corn Belt Ports in the 2019 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers port rankings highlights our region as a leader in inland waterway commerce,” Congressman Dave Loebsack said. “I am especially proud to note the tremendous growth for the Mississippi River Ports of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, which covers the entirety of the 2nd Congressional District’s riverfront counties.”
In September, Representatives Bustos, Finkenauer, Loebsack and LaHood sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for expedited approval of a local request to improve economic opportunity at Illinois and Iowa ports along the Mississippi River.
The creation of the Corn Belt Ports Statistical Area will highlight the importance of the region in transporting goods. The report, issued by the Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center (WCSC), provides data for the Corn Belt Ports and will improve awareness of the importance of the region to the national economy and investing in inland waterway infrastructure.