A group of Midwest lawmakers is leading a new push to modernize locks along inland waterways. A letter from lawmakers representing Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. urges Senate and House appropriators to include funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Restoration Program in the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bills. The program, authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, would modernize and expand seven outdated locks and restore ecosystems along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Funding is needed so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can move forward with preconstruction engineering and design for the projects. The letter, led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, says Inland and intercoastal waterways and ports are vital to the U.S. economy. Those waterways serve 38 states throughout the nation as shippers and consumers depend on the ability to move around 600 million tons of cargo valued at $232 billion annually. 73 percent of U.S. agricultural exports were carried on U.S. waterways, as well as 65 percent of imports.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.