Positive movement on lock and dam legislation is expected sometime this summer, said several elected officials in Washington, DC this week.
The Water Resources Development Act currently sits in conference committee, but with the major disagreements between the House and the Senate bills nearing compromise, most legislators believe they will see the conference report passed through the House and Senate before fall.
IL corn farmers lobbied for more federal funding for Olmsted; massive cost overruns and drastically long time lines have caused this project to all but drain the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, leaving no funding for new lock and dam starts along the Illinois and Mississippi.
The current guess is that the conference report will allocate 85 percent federal funding and 15 percent private funding to finish the lock, which frees up millions to start new projects and is a significant win for Illinois farmers.
IL Corn also advocated for an increase in the diesel fuel tax which would provide more funding for lock and dam upgrades. Current IL Corn policy allows for an up to 20 cent increase in the fuel tax, which farmers would have paid for in only three years due to the efficiency gains associated with new 1,200 foot locks and dams.
For more information on locks and dams and our efforts to modernize the Mississippi Basin river system, check out these articles: