The Illinois Corn Growers Association is celebrating last week's passage of the federal Water Resources Development Act. The U.S. Senate is questioning the key appropriations is yet to come for long-overdue improvement of river locks and dams serving Illinois shipping.
Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk are both in support of the WRDA, saying it'll open new opportunities along the major waterways.
The new legislation contains a provision for the federal government to pay 85 percent instead of 50 of the estimated $1.3 billion completion cost for the Olmsted Lock and Dam on the Ohio River at the southern end of Illinois. That will free up more money from the user-funded Inland Waterways Trust Fund for use on be used on other projects.