MUSCATINE, IOWA, January 13, 2016 – The City of Muscatine is pleased to announce that they have reached a significant milestone and is expected to be awarded a $100,000 Linking Iowa’s Freight Transportation System (LIFTS) Grant in February.
According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the City has received its recommendation to be one of six out of 25 total LIFTS Grant applicant projects to be funded.  The LIFTS program seeks to address gaps in multimodal funding to assist in bolstering the freight transportation system – be that by truck, train, barge, airplane, or other modes. Because Iowa is a producer state, products grown or made here take a journey on multiple modes of transportation throughout the United States and the world. Efficient, diverse, and cost-effective freight transportation is critical to the health of Iowa’s businesses, communities and economy.
Being awarded the grant means that the City would be able to conduct a feasibility study to support the establishment of a multi-modal container terminal port facility on the Mississippi River in Muscatine. The port would allow for the sending, receiving and trans-loading of intermodal container freight and smaller bulk items utilizing the river, highway, warehousing or rail. In September 2015, the City announced intentions to explore the development of an intermodal container port. This grant is a step toward reaching that goal.
The LIFTS Grant is an 80/20 match grant, meaning the grant will provide $80,000 in funding which will be paired with $20,000 from private sources, totaling $100,000 that will be used for the feasibility study.  The feasibility study is a necessary first step toward establishing a port authority in Muscatine because it has the potential to provide justification to move forward with applying for larger grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
This project will enhance the economic health of the entire surrounding region by ensuring efficient, diverse, and cost-effective freight transportation options for area businesses with access to world markets.  Completion of this project would benefit all of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois since there are no intermodal container facilities north of St. Louis along the Mississippi River. 
Community Development Director Dave Gobin is enthusiastic about the progress that has been made toward developing a port authority in Muscatine.
“In September, we established that our next step was to study where to put the port and the economic impact it would have on the entire region and here we are on the cusp of fulfilling our first objective,” Gobin said.
Although the City is only one of six grant requests to be awarded out of 25 applications, it awaits final approval in February before they can enter into a definitive grant agreement with the IDOT.