Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswomen Ashley Hinson (IA-01) and Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced that, at their request, $22,500,000 in funding for the Upper Mississippi River Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program has been included in the House Appropriations Committee funding bill for Energy and Water Development.
"The lock and dam system along the Upper Mississippi River is critical to Iowa's agriculture export economy and is an economic engine for the entire region. New construction for Locks & Dams 25 will create good-paying jobs in rural America and ensure the Midwest remains competitive in global markets. I am excited to have secured $22.5 million in this package to move this critical infrastructure project forward and will continue working to bring taxpayer dollars home to be reinvested in our district. I am grateful for Congresswoman Bustos’s partnership on this issue and am glad we could work in a bipartisan manner to support reliable and resilient infrastructure.” said Congresswoman Ashley Hinson.
“Our agricultural producers depend on our inland waterways to deliver tons of goods to market each year, and we must ensure this economic driver remains strong. With the Mississippi River to our west, and the Illinois River to our south, it’s vital we have reliable water infrastructure with modern locks and dams to serve the needs of our communities,”Congresswoman Bustos said. “I’m pleased to announce that more than $22.5 million in funding has been included in this legislative package and this critical project is now one step closer to becoming reality. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue to return taxpayer funds to our communities and invest in the economic success of our waterways.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Rock Island District’s Upper Mississippi River Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program -- $22.5 million
Congress recognized the importance of the Upper Mississippi River—Illinois Waterway System (IL, IA, MN, MO, and WI) (UMRS) in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1986 by designating it as the only nationally significant ecosystem and commercial navigation system. The Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), which was authorized in Title VIII of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, would modernize and expand seven outdated locks and restore ecosystems along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Unfortunately, delays in construction continue to threaten the reliability of the overall productivity of the waterway.
Shippers have legitimate concerns about the age of this structure and increases in planned and emergency lock outages. According to a study prepared for the National Waterways Foundation and the U.S. Maritime Administration, estimated costs of an unplanned closure of Lock 25 alone would result in a $1.57 billion loss to the economy, impacting 132 counties in 17 states.
Many farmers and businesses in Illinois and Iowa rely on the UMRS to ship crops or goods to market, but America’s competitiveness in foreign markets shrinks each year without a new start. With 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports traveling on the UMRS, we cannot afford to let this situation worsen. NESP provides the opportunity to address these reliability issues, protect this infrastructure from catastrophic failure and provide roughly 10,000 construction jobs over the lifetime of the program, which is about 20 years of construction.