On Wednesday, Congresswomen Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Cheri Bustos (D-IL) as well as Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has allocated $829.1 million in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). Specifically, the funding will be used to complete the modernization of Lock & Dam 25, including the construction of a new 1,200-foot lock, an environmental restoration project at Lock & Dam 22, and other small-scale ecosystem and navigation projects in the region.
Today’s announcement comes one month after the lawmakers sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the USACE requesting the Administration prioritize funding the construction of NESP on the UMRS with the $2.5 billion for inland waterways provided in the IIJA.
“The lock and dam system along the Upper Mississippi River is critical to Iowa’s agriculture economy and our country’s entire supply chain — this landmark investment will be game-changing for Iowans and communities along the Mississippi River like Dubuque,” said Congresswoman Ashley Hinson. “Over 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports travel through this lock and dam system, and it is a massive economic engine for the entire state. That’s why I helped lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Administration to prioritize funding for these essential upgrades. I’ll always fight to ensure Iowans’ taxpayer dollars are reinvested at home in Iowa.”
“Iowa’s agriculture, manufacturing and shipping industries rely on a functioning and efficient lock and dam system along the Mississippi River to move goods. It’s an issue I often hear about during my 99 county meetings and regularly raise with the Army Corps of Engineers, so I’m pleased to report that they’ll be investing more than $829 million for updates to these locks and dams. When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I was voting for exactly this type of federal support for critical infrastructure that Iowans depend on,” Senator Grassley said.
“Today’s announcement is a huge win for our economy, jobs, American farmers, trade and the environment,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “This years-long effort to modernize the locks and dams of the Mississippi will help our agricultural producers bring tons of goods to market faster, increase trade by speeding up the transport of American products, spur job creation, alleviate supply chain stress and help reduce transportation emissions. With this funding, we’re bringing taxpayer dollars home and revolutionizing how efficiently we utilize our waterways.”
“Protecting and strengthening our inland waterways, especially the Mississippi River, is critical to growing our local economies and protecting the health and safety of our communities,” Senator Duckworth said. “I’m so pleased to see the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program that I’ve worked to support getting the resources it needs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, because it will help protect our environment, modernize our water infrastructure and provide good-paying, local jobs for the region.”
“This investment to improve the safety and navigability of the Mississippi River is great news for farmers, businesses, and Missouri’s economy,” said Senator Blunt. “I’m glad the USACE will have significant resources to advance projects that will make it easier and less expensive for farmers and businesses to get their goods to market. Modernizing our waterways will continue to be a top priority in my efforts to ensure our state has the tools it needs to lead the way in a global economy.”
“For years, I’ve advocated for the modernization of Illinois’ locks and dams, which are integral to our state’s economy and in desperate need of repair. Today’s announcement is the beginning of a new era for waterway infrastructure and environmental restoration in Illinois,” said Senator Durbin. “I’m encouraged that President Biden shares my urgency to improve our waterways by providing more than $800 million in federal funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program. This funding will restore our environment, modernize our locks, help Illinois agriculture better compete around the globe, and create thousands of jobs. I’m looking forward to this federal investment’s positive economic impact on Illinois and communities up and down the Mississippi River for years to come.”