Officials around the southern Illinois community of Metropolis say the region may get an economic lift from the creation of a new port district there.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday signed a measure creating a Massac-Metropolis Port District.
The district will allow the creation of new river ports along the Ohio River in Massac County and expand an existing airport. That ultimately could create jobs and provide a way to ship southern Illinois goods, including coal and agricultural products.
The district will also be allowed to issue bonds, obtain loans and levy selected taxes.
Democratic state Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg says creating the district is a first step in developing a larger economic center in Massac County.