Cheers to U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, and U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., for putting before President Obama legislation he signed this week we hope leads to an update of Illinois’ critical lock and dam system.
Elsewhere in Viewpoints today, the trio, along with U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, talk about why the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act is so important to the nation and the Midwest.
But the provision which Rep. Bustos pushed to include that addresses lock and dam upgrades may be especially important to river communities like this one. It creates a public-private pilot program to explore non-traditional ways to finance, plan, design and construct an updated lock and dam system.
Rep. Bustos, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said she was “elated that our bipartisan, common sense idea to help modernize our region’s aging locks and dams is now the law of the land.” The goal, she said, is to save taxpayer dollars, create jobs and boost the area’s economy.
Though the lock and dam system has not been upgraded since the 1930s and there are an estimated $60 billion in backlogged repairs needed, federal officials have found it impossible to find the money to do what must be done to upgrade a system on which America’s economy. We’ll cross our fingers that this will help.