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Congress May Finally Fund Lock Expansion on the Upper Mississippi

Michelle O'Neill
A towboat guides barges through Lock 15 in the Quad Cities. (file)

Congress is working on a new, Water Resources Development Act, and deciding which projects to pay for. That includes fixing locks and dams. A group that represents navigators, shippers, farmers, and others is pleased with the proposed funding and policies in the act, which has passed the House.

Credit submitted / Waterways Council, Inc.
Waterways Council, Inc.
Mike Toohey, Pres. Waterways Council, Inc.

President of the Waterways Council, Mike Toohey, says it's past time to repair and upgrade the locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

This year, the Corps of Engineers plans to spend $10 million on the LaGrange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River.

The plan also includes $1 million to continue studying the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program. Toohey says the program was approved in 2007 and includes the expansion of five locks on the Upper Mississippi River and two on the Illinois. It also includes funding for habitat restoration.

Toohey says the Water Resources Development Act passed the House, 408 to 2. And he hopes it passes the senate with a wide margin, too.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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