The below described project falls under item 12 Establishment of Transportation Museum Number 3.2.1 Transportation Enhancement Categories, Detailed Qualifications.
Originally conceived by French explorers over 250 years ago, the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Tenn-Tom) is one of the Nation’s largest, most costly, and complex public works projects. Construction of the 234-mile waterway required more earthy removal than the Panama Canal and is one of the world’s engineering marvels. It was also the first largest public works projects ever constructed under the dictates of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Tenn-Tom’s evolution from a dream by past generations to a reality over twenty years ago provides a fertile repository for those interested in political science; environmental law (two national landmark cases): public works engineering and construction; multimodal transportation; and regional economic development. The proposed Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Transportation Museum located at the headquarters of the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Authority would facilitate greater access to a treasure trove of the waterway’s history for scholars, students, researchers and for the general public. The waterway authority is a four-state compact ratified by the U. S. Congress nearly 50 years ago to promote the development of the Tenn-to m and its economic and trade potential to the region. Its’ member states are Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Chairmanship of the compact rotates annually among the four governors.
The Authority would operate the museum 40 hours each week. It would develop the museum’s exhibits, programs, and demonstration projects in close cooperation with the Tenn-Tom archives located at Mississippi State University and with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that built and operates the waterway. Other federal and state agencies and local interests will also be consulted.
The importance of intermodalism between water and land transportation, including rail, will be one of the themes of the proposed museum. The Tenn-Tom region is blessed with an extensive rail and inland waterway system. These unique transportation services have played a dominant role in the development of the region and will be of even greater importance in the future as its farmers, manufacturers, and other businesses have to complete in a global economy. The Authority will coordinate any planned multimodal or intermodal projects at the museum with the Intermodal Transportation Center at MSU and with those railroads or other transportation entities that serve this region.