Today’s Senate passage of a bipartisan infrastructure package included $2.5 billion of full federal funding to upgrade and modernize the inland waterways system, with specific projects to be determined in a work plan to be released later.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) applauded the bill, after decades spent advocating for lock and dam upgrades on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
“Illinois corn farmers are desperate for lock and dam upgrades that keep us competitive in a global marketplace,” said Randy DeSutter, the association’s president from Woodhull, IL. “Seeing Senate movement to put some money behind the needed modernizations after seeing the House allocate funds 10 days ago is bringing us hope that we’ll finally see some construction on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.”
This additional funding, combined with full annual appropriations of inland waterways construction, equates to nearly $4 billion over the next five years for inland waterways construction and major rehabilitation projects.
Trade is the largest market for Illinois corn, based on the efficient transportation available to Illinois farmers in the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. In addition to being efficient, barge traffic is much cleaner than other modes of transportation.
ICGA appreciates the important work of the Senate to pass this bill and recognize the importance of our country’s inland waterways system.