Major Policy Change Makes Lock and Dam Upgrades More Likely

Lindsay Mitchell

May 06, 2020  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  Locks and Dams

Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA). The bill included within it the Committee’s version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which had great news for Illinois farmers relying on our inland waterways infrastructure and the international market it provides.


The bill adjusts the cost-share for construction and major rehabilitation of inland waterways projects from 50/50 to 35/65.


This means that instead of 50 percent of the funds for rehab and construction coming from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and 50 percent of the funds coming from the federal government, the split will now be 35/65 with the federal government picking up 65 percent of the tab.


This shift in the cost share provisions was a key component to getting Olmsted lock and dam up and running in August 2018, despite projected cost overruns of $3 billion and a projected completion date of 2026. Steady funding brings projects to completion faster.

The shift was a priority for the Waterways Council Inc, of which IL Corn is a member, and is a significant step toward ensuring inland waterways construction and major rehabilitation projects advance more efficiently. The change could provide up to $1 billion in additional construction funds over 10 years.