Tribune-Courier General Manager
CALVERT CITY – A biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which had been holding up progress on the Marshall County-Calvert City Riverport project got a go-ahead last week.
The project on the Tennessee River in Calvert City has been delayed due to the potential impact on the habitats of federally-listed endangered mussels and bats.
Marshall County Judge-Executive Mike Miller and Calvert City Mayor Lynn Jones solicited the help of Sen. Mitch McConnel in June to expedite the permitting process.
In a statement, McConnell, who urged the Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite the process, said a biological opinion has been forwarded from the wildlife service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Without assistance from Mitch McConnell, this project would not have moved forward in a timely manner,” said Jones.
Jones said the permit process is now being finalized with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and some preliminary work on the project could begin soon.
“This is great news for the community because the Riverport Project is expected to result in welcomed job creation and economic growth,” McConnell said. “I was pleased to work with Judge Executive Miller and Mayor Jones on the project, which will better position Kentucky’s manufacturing base in the region.”
The Riverport Authority Board sought the permits to construct a rail spur linking the port at Calvert City to the Paducah & Louisville double-track main line.
The proposed two-mile spur will connect the Calvert City Riverport to a bulk carrier and provide intermodal access to a Class II railway, something the board says is vital to the future of industrial development in Marshall County.
“We all know in order to have a viable port we must have a railroad whether it’s this year or five years from now,” Miller said in a previous interview. “Before we can do that we need a permit. It’s a no-brainer to me that we need to move forward. As things develop I’m hopeful, and I’m being optimistic, that in the five-year period we could have a railroad in.”