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Wooden steamboat backers in Ohio praise House vote

CINCINNATI (AP) — Supporters hoping the historic Delta Queen steamboat will travel again say the U.S. House's Wednesday approval of a related bill is a step forward in the long process.

That measure and a Senate version would temporarily exempt the National Historic Landmark from a ban on certain wooden boats making overnight trips with 50-plus passengers. Both measures would need more approval.

The Delta Queen once plied the Mississippi and Ohio rivers but has been docked in recent years as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. Opponents say the wooden-structure is a fire trap. Supporters say safety improvements would be made.

Meanwhile, it's for sale. A New Orleans investor whose group hopes to buy the steamboat tells The Cincinnati Enquirer ( ) that Cincinnati tops his list of possible new homes for it.

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