Mammoth loads of grain travel from inland river bases to outbound ports of call along arteries tamed by equipment that, in some cases, is 8 decades old. The federal agency tasked with keeping river traffic moving has appeared at the door of Congress, hat in hand, on more than one occasion. Recently, enough Congressional members agreed the aging gear was due for a much needed makeover.

John Torpy has the story.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers made the nice list in Congress with a recently passed bill that helps address issues facing the nation’s inland waterways.

Included in the recently passed stop gap spending measure to keep the doors on Capitol Hill open for business until April of 2017, Congress also passed the Water Resources Development Act. The legislation provides almost $10 billion dollars for repairs and improvements to the dilapidated lock and dam system.

Thirty new projects, along with eight existing ones, were given the green light based on a wish list provided to Congress by the Army Corps of Engineers. The projects include addressing a myriad of issues plaguing the aging infrastructure along the Mississippi River and other inland waterways. The act also provides resources for flood risk management and ecosystem infrastructure restoration projects.

Statement for the Army Corps of Engineers, “The recently signed and released Water Resources Development Act had some encouraging indications from the perspective of many within the Rock Island District of the Army Corps of Engineers. There is language within the bill that relates to several projects within our District's purview. Although WRDA doesn't appropriate the funding by which work is carried out, the bill does set the groundwork by providing authorizations. These authorizations are the first, critical step in the process that brings projects to fruition.”

 

While the Corps is happy their concerns are being heard, officials in the Upper Mississippi River Basin were hoping the bill would have included funds for specific projects in their region underway.

Market to Market will have an in-depth report on Rural America’s lifeline for agricultural trade in the coming months.

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy