Iowa-Illinois port designation sought along the Mississippi

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Several Iowa and Illinois counties hope to form a sprawling port district along the Mississippi River.

Backers say the plan would improve access to federal funding and aid business development. The Quad-City Times reports that organizers are working on getting governing boards in all 15 counties that share river access to join what would be designated a port statistical area.

An application then would be submitted to the Corps of Engineers. If it were approved, the 222-mile-long area would rank 68th in tonnage in the country.

The 15 counties have 70 river terminals. Both states are significant exporters of soybeans and corn.