Senator Kirk Works to Improve Illinois Waterway Infrastructure
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is continuing to support investments aimed to improve Illinois waterway infrastructure.
Yesterday, Senator Kirk, among others, voted to boost funding that will protect the Great Lakes from invasive species and improve waterway infrastructure on Illinois’ rivers and lakes.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2017, which now heads to the Senate floor.
“We are investing in our water infrastructure to improve navigation on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers because our economy depends on being able to efficiently ship goods and agricultural exports on our waterways,” Senator Kirk said.
The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for FY2017:
- Protects Great Lakes and Mississippi River from Invasive Species. The bill includes $12 million for full operational use of electric barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System to stop the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.
It also provides $2.6 million for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study at Brandon Road Lock and Dam to identify new technologies to halt the transfer of Asian carp and other harmful species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.
- Supports Maintenance of Harbors, Locks and Dams on Illinois and Mississippi River Waterways. The bill restores $1.4 billion in cuts made by the president’s budget to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, providing the Corps a record $6 billion in funding. The bill provides $1.3 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), or $120 million above the ambitious target authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.
It also includes more than $1.5 million for dredging in Waukegan Harbor and fully utilizes the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to build and repair locks and dams. Additionally, the bill increases funds to operate and maintain Army Corps water resource projects nationwide, including Chicago Harbor, Calumet Harbor, Kaskaskia River, Shelbyville, Carlyle and Rend Lakes in Illinois.