WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A look at the present, and a plan for the future. On Tuesday, Delta Regional Authority's Federal Chairman toured the port. And, he liked what he saw.
"We think this is a tremendous asset to Monroe, and West Monroe, and Ouachita Parish and, quite frankly, for the region," Chris Masingill said.
An asset that began with an investment from DRA nearly ten years ago. And now, the business is booming.
"Nearly 20 million dollars in infrastructure, in all of our rails, docks, cranes, container handlers, rolling stock," Port Director Paul Trichel said. All that, would put 20 million dollars to shame."
And, an asset that will only continue with more investing.
"We want to increase the traffic and the ton-age," Masingill said. "This is an incredible facility. But, there's a lot more that can be done."
A lot more can be done. But, there's still one major challenge. The Police Jury is trying to get federal funds to help dredge the river, which removes debris, and makes way for crucial barge traffic.
"We've been down this road with core of engineers," state Senator Mike Walsworth said. "We'll get the dredging that we need. All of us are going down this road. And, I think it's going to happen. I think it's one of those budget issues that happen from time to time."
If the funding works out, and they do dredge the river, everyone agrees the future growth will come sailing in.
"Off the charts," Trichel said. "It's all a matter of doing what they're doing."