October 26, 2007
Cincinnati, OH. -- Congressman Steve Chabot today formally announced the introduction of legislation to save the Delta Queen. The historic steamboat faces an uncertain future due to the pending expiration of a special congressional exemption which currently allows the Delta Queen to operate as an overnight passenger vessel.
“The Delta Queen is a living reminder of what life was like before highways and automobiles were used to transport goods and people from one city to another,” Chabot stated at a press conference announcing the bill today. “It's an experience you can't get in a museum or from the history books - you have to live it and it's worth preserving. I have introduced bipartisan legislation with a number of my colleagues who want to save this historic treasure and allow the Delta Queen to continue to operate in a safe manner.”
Joining Congressman Chabot at the press conference today were Cincinnati City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz; Gordon Greene, former Vice President of Greene Line Steamers; Dan Hurley, the Assistant Vice President for History at the Cincinnati Museum Center; Doug Moorman of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber; Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival; Mike Jones, Middle Rivers Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the Pioneer Rivermen; and a number of enthusiastic Delta Queen supporters.
The Delta Queen began operations as a sternwheel river steamboat in 1926 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989. For the last 40 years, the Delta Queen has operated under a special congressional exemption due to the boat’s wooden superstructure not meeting certain regulations under the 1966 Safety of Life at Sea Act. Congress has renewed the exemption on a number of occasions to allow the Delta Queen to continue overnight passenger cruises. Without congressional action, the current exemption will expire in November 2008. Chabot’s bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3852, would extend the exemption for the Delta Queen until 2018.