The U.S. House of Representatives voted 412 to 4 to pass the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) today, moving us one small step closer to beginning construction on a new lock on the Illinois or Mississippi Rivers.
This WRRDA bill contained an authorization to change the funding for Olmsted construction to 85 percent federal and 15 percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). The change means that less of the IWTF funds are used to continue fueling Olmsted’s cost overruns and those funds can instead be used towards other projects on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
The Illinois Congressional Delegation all voted in favor of the bill.
This bill is an important step, but is not at all the end of the journey. The IWTF still needs an increase in the barge user fee of at least 6-9 cents before significant funding increases will make serious lock and dam construction a reality.
Learn more about locks and dams and why they are important to Illinois here.