Today, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the Water Resources Development Act. This bill, should it become law, makes lock and dam upgrades one small step closer than before.
This WRDA bill contained an authorization to change the funding for Olmsted construction to 85 percent federal and 15 percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF). The change means that less of the IWTF funds are used to continue fueling Olmsted’s cost overruns and those funds can instead be used towards other projects on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Your Illinois Senators voted in favor of the bill.
Now that the bill has passed both the House and the Senate, we patiently await President Obama to sign it. Once signed, we still need appropriations and law to increase the barge fuel tax at least 6-9 cents to have enough funding to begin construction on any locks and dams before 2030.
Learn more about locks and dams and why they are important to Illinois here.