City may receive revenue from Mississippi River Initiative - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City may receive revenue from Mississippi River Initiative

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Last year's flooding prompted Mayor Wharton to join the fight for federal river revenues. Last year's flooding prompted Mayor Wharton to join the fight for federal river revenues.
Wharton will co-chair a committee to design the agenda that river city mayors will take to Washington in the spring of 2013. Wharton will co-chair a committee to design the agenda that river city mayors will take to Washington in the spring of 2013.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Extreme weather fluctuations are causing low Mississippi River levels this year.  Massive flooding last year prompted Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton to join a 10 state fight for federal river revenues.

This comes as the Bluff City's economy becomes more dependent upon the river.

The Mighty Mississippi River's capriciousness has captured the full attention of mayors along her 2,500 mile shoreline.

"There are 124 cities along the river with mayors.  We had 41 of them in St. Louis," said Wharton.

Mayor Wharton and the Great American Queen Steamboat CEO attended a two-day "Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative" summit in St. Louis late last week.

Wharton will co-chair a committee to design the agenda that river city mayors will take to Washington, D.C. next spring to fight for federal funding.

"We'll be able to have much more influence than we had before on keeping the river dredged out," Wharton stated.

Right now, the mother of all dredgers is digging debris from Memphis' river bottom where low water levels caused navigation troubles for the American Queen earlier this year.

Just last year, the swollen river forced evacuations.

The mayors say the river contributes $105 billion to the U.S. economy, carries 62% of America's agriculture, supplies drinking water to 18 million people and supports one million jobs.

And for Memphis, the America Queen's $89.5 million a year impact is just a start.

"We've got Bass Pro on the river, we've got Beale Street Landing, we've got the steamboat back, we have Harbor Town, we've got the bicycle lanes coming," Wharton explained.

In fact, Memphis is the Aerotropolis of North America because the river gives the Bluff City a fourth mode of transportation.

On the mayors' agenda:

  • Support for a disaster relief farm bill to stabilize food and energy prices
  • River navigation funds
  • Drinking water protections

"We have got to keep that river as clean, as bold, and big as it's ever been," Wharton said.

The $250,000 grant to launch the initiative came from The Walton Family Foundation, run by the family of Wal-Mart's Sam Walton.

To learn more about the initiative, click here.

 

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