Senators urge funding for outdated locks

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is calling on House and Senate appropriators to provide funds to modernize seven outdated locks along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the funding is needed so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can move forward with preconstruction engineering and design for the projects.

“It’s important that the rest of the funding be provided so that we are ready to go to construction in the next several years, as this project moves to the top of the Inland Waterways Users Board’s list,” Grassley says.

The current backlog of water infrastructure projects pending before the Corps is putting U.S. competitiveness at risk, he says.

“We must have these improvements to our water infrastructure on the Mississippi River in order to maintain our international competitiveness and to ensure the safe and efficient movement of our goods.”

Grassley says more than 70 percent of U.S. ag exports are carried on U.S. waterways, as well as 65 percent of imports.

Audio: Excerpt from Grassley’s conference call with ag reporters

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