The Delta Grassroots Caucus is supporting a congressional bipartisan group aiming to restore the Delta Queen steamboat for traveling purposes.
The vessel, a national landmark from the late nineteenth century, once journeyed to ports in several states along the Mississippi River. But after the 2008 liquidation of owning company Majestic America, the Delta Queen ceased operations and currently serves as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Legislative action has been taken to restore the boat to its former state. The bill, HR 1961, boasts a total of 22 congressional sponsors -- including Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) -- who believe resuming travel operations would bring in millions of tourist dollars. Other organizations standing behind the measure include the Seafarers International Union, the American Maritime Officers and the National Trust for Historical Preservation.
"It looks good as far as getting the congressional approval," said Delta Grassroots Caucus Director Lee Powell. "We'd love to see the Delta Queen traveling along the Mississippi River again ... It's a national historic treasure."
The bill passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee July 17 and will be prepared for hearings in the full House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.