Illinois Senators Champion Cost-Share Change Enabling Lock Modernization
Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022. The bill includes a cost-share shift offered by Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, that will allow for quicker completion of inland waterways projects to alleviate supply chain issues and address global food security and energy security.
The new cost-share provision would permanently adjust the inland waterways cost-share for construction and major rehabilitation projects from 65 percent general revenue and 35 percent Inland Waterways Trust Fund to 75 percent general revenue and 25 percent Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The proposal also eliminates the sunset provision and preserves these changes indefinitely.
A higher percentage of building and rehab funds coming from the Federal government reduces the likelihood that the availability of funds in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund will limit new lock builds and major lock rehabilitation. This provision also matches the cost-share for coastal ports established in WRDA 2016. The changes result in faster project completion, lower final project costs, and more rapid realization of the economic benefits from the completed projects.
Next, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will develop its version of the WRDA bill with plans to release text and hold a markup in mid-May. IL Corn Growers Association has already begun working with the Illinois House delegation to get the same cost-share change included in the House version of the bill.
Illinois farmers sell more than half of their corn and corn-coproducts to international markets via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. An efficient and modern inland waterways transportation system is vital to maintain global competitiveness for farmers in Illinois.
Read the Senate WRDA bill here.