Illinois Corn commends the work of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senate Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to invigorate the support and 90-8 passage of the FY 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.
The bill will, in-part, fund inland waterways infrastructure that will improve the stability of locks and dams across the country. Such systems heavily contribute to the production and transportation of agricultural products. Illinois exports nearly 50% of the corn it produces, and the majority of these structures used to transport it are well past their 50-year lifespan. So, the construction and repair of dependable and efficient waterways are much needed.
Other highlights of the bill include:
- The bill increases the President’s proposed Construction account funding level by $723.65 million to $1.81 billion.
- Within the Construction account, $375.65 million is made available for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) priority navigation projects, an amount that makes full use of estimated Inland Waterways Trust Fund annual revenues. Olmsted Lock/Dam receives $225 million, per the President’s request, with additional funding to be allocated by the Secretary of the Army taking into account WRRDA 2014 priorities.
- Investigations receives $126.5 million, which is $41.5 million above the FY ’17 request by the Administration.
- On the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), the Waterways Council Inc., (WCI) is requesting that $10 million be dedicated to Pre-Construction Engineering and Design (PED) for NESP, but the Secretary of the Army will also decide whether to allocate these funds.
- The Corps’ Operations & Maintenance (O&M) account funding level is a record level at $3.17 billion, nearly $467 million higher than the Administration’s requested level. Additional O&M money was provided at $700 million for flood storm damage risk reduction, shore protection, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and related Corps mission projects as authorized by law.
- $1.3 billion is provided from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF). This amount surpasses the WRDDA 2014 target.
- Mississippi Rivers & Tributaries (MR&T) receives $368 million for flood damage risk reduction efforts.