Delta Queen closer to cruising after Senate committee vote

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ST. LOUIS (AP) – An effort to get the legendary Delta Queen riverboat back up and running on the Mississippi River and its tributaries has gotten a boost from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.

The committee on Wednesday agreed to reinstate an exemption for the 89-year-old vessel, which has been docked since 2009. The measure now goes to the full Senate.

The Delta Queen is moving to the small St. Louis-area town of Kimmswick, Missouri, after repairs are made in Louisiana. Both of Missouri’s senators say the riverboat has the potential to be a big benefit for the region’s tourism and the economy.

But first, Congress must allow it to cruise. A 1966 law prohibits overnight excursions on wooden vessels. The Delta Queen was given an exemption, but the exemption expired in 2008.