Source: United States Senator for Missouri Roy Blunt
Headline: Historic Delta Queen Sails to Senate Passage, Blunt-McCaskill Bill Full Steam Ahead to Becoming Law
WASHINGTON – Legislation from U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill to return the historic 1920s Delta Queen riverboat to Missouri sailed through the Senate today by a vote of 85-12. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for approval.
“The Delta Queen is a remarkable part of our nation’s history, and I’m thrilled that it’s another step closer to making its way back to Missouri and once again cruising the Mississippi,” Blunt said. “Restoring the Delta Queen to full operation will create jobs, support economic growth, and enhance our state’s tourism industry. I’ll continue working to make sure more Missourians and visitors alike are able to see and experience this national treasure.”
“We’re full steam ahead to get the Delta Queen back home to the St. Louis region where she belongs,” McCaskill said. “Her return would mean tourists up and down the Mississippi can once again enjoy the rich history of one of our historic landmarks, and give Jefferson County an infusion of jobs and economic growth—a win-win that I hope will now be buoyed by bipartisan support from the House of Representatives.”
In January, Blunt and McCaskill’s legislation was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee.
According to the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation, the St. Louis region will experience a significant economic impact from the Delta Queen, creating more than 170 jobs locally and bringing in more than $36.4 million to the St. Louis region annually. It is expected that the Delta Queen will begin and end a number of its cruises each year in Kimmswick and will visit more than 80 other ports in the United States.
Built in the 1920s, the Delta Queen is an historic, wooden American steamboat that carried dignitaries (including three U.S. Presidents) and thousands of other passengers through the tributaries of the Mississippi River. The boat also served as a naval ship during World War II, and is now designated as a United States National Historic Landmark.
Beginning in 1966, the Delta Queen was exempted from a law passed by Congress regulating passenger vessels carrying 50 or more passengers overnight on domestic U.S. waters. That exemption expired in 2008. This legislation would restore the long-running exemption and require the Delta Queen, which is fully compliant with all other Coast Guard safety regulations, to annually modify at least ten percent of the wooden portions of the vessel’s superstructure to comply with the federal safety law requirements.