Waterways Council Asks Congress to Fund Lock Expansion

Jun 10, 2019

Credit submitted / Waterways Council, Inc.

An industry group is asking Congress to start funding Mississippi River navigation improvements originally authorized more than ten years ago.

The Waterways Council represents shipping companies, agriculture, port authorities, and others.

This year, the council wants Congress to make sure the Corps of Engineers' Civil Works program includes expanding locks on the Upper Mississippi River. 

Credit submitted / Waterways Council, Inc.

Mike Toohey is the President and CEO of the Waterways Council.

He says the Corps needs funds to expand seven locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. They were all built in the 1930s. 

The projects were included in the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) that Congress approved in 2007.

But Toohey says career employees at the Executive branch's Office of Management and Budget told the Waterways Council they will never fund NESP as long as they work there. 

The Waterways Council also proposes an increase in revenue sharing for the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to pay for construction projects over the next 20 years. And it's asking for a small percentage of revenue from hydropower for the same fund.

Credit submitted / Waterways Council, Inc.