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Mayors call for more federal money along Mississippi River

MEMPHIS, TN (WTAQ) - Mayors of cities along the Mississippi River say they're in dire need of more federal money for projects that will keep commerce flowing. 

The Delta Regional Authority and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative met Thursday in Memphis. 

They agreed to do what they can to reduce freight bottlenecks, and increase container shipping. To achieve that, the mayors say they'll need Congress to approve more funding for lock and dam improvements and dredging projects. 

Last winter, barges ran aground in low water on the Mississippi near St. Louis. It caused commercial traffic to stop on sections south of Wisconsin that were not frozen. 

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton said his city and others have had to use their own money for emergency projects. He called that inappropriate, saying the Mississippi is a federal interest and not a local waterway. 

Natchez, Mississippi Mayor Larry Brown said some locks and dams on the river are older than 50 years -- and they need to be updated to avoid failures that can severely hold up river shipping.

Thirteen mayors attended Thursday's meeting, none from Wisconsin.