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Ports gives regionalism opportunity

The Mississippi River cuts through the heart of our community, but it’s only as big of a barrier as we make it in our minds.

Reaching out across the river and across other less tangible political boundaries that divide us could reap huge benefits.

But regionalism will only work if our community can get over the fear of change and the worry that by working together we could lose more than we might gain.

Getting over our history of selfishness and the safety in the status quo is critical.

Late last week a unique first opportunity for regionalism became increasingly apparent.

The Vidalia Port project received another bit of good news, as another $1.5 million in federal funds seems to be secured for the project. If ultimately approved, the new funding legislation would bring the total federal dollars set aside for the Vidalia Port to $2.5 million.

The news illustrates that the Vidalia Port quickly is becoming a reality.

Adams County Port officials and government leaders have expressed concern over whether our area could support two ports. But rather than hold up hands in objection — even if publicly held up politely — a wiser option would be to find ways to work together.

Could having the additional port capacity help recruit industries to our area?

Could a partnership between the ports also lead to additional economic development benefits like the formation of a free trade zone or other special designations?

Is the only thing keeping us from working together is fear of losing something?