Illinois Corn Growers Association President Paul Taylor, a family farmer from Esmond, IL, issued the following statement today after hearing the U.S. Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) on a vote of 83-14.
“Improving the infrastructure on the Illinois and Upper Mississippi Rivers has been a goal of Illinois Corn Growers Association for some time. The Senate’s passage of the Water Resources Development Act is a huge step toward getting new locks and dams on our vital waterways transportation systems. We’re certainly appreciative for the efforts of Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Mark Kirk in getting WRDA through the Senate.
“Overall, WRDA gets us headed down the right path. With it we’d see a re-prioritization of funding with the federalization of the Olmsted project. We’d also see a more responsive system in times of extreme weather events to answer navigation concerns. We’re looking forward to enhanced public-private partnerships.
“ICGA extends special recognition of the leadership Senator Durbin exhibited with regard to specific areas of the WRDA legislation. The Senator has been a steadfast supporter through this process in bringing a common sense approach to a public-private partnership as well as learning the lessons that the low-water situation in 2012 brought to all the stakeholders on the Mississippi River.
“We look forward to the House fully considering waterways legislation, and especially to the opportunity for an expanded funding mechanism for improving locks and dams by putting in place an increase in the barge fuel tax.”
Priority details on the WRDA bill and background information on this issue can be found on the Illinois Corn website in the locks and dams section.