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Blunt, Durbin, Grassley Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort To Fund Modernization Of Upper Mississippi River Locks And Dams

December 09, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), along with U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (Ill.) and Ashley Hinson (Iowa), led a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize funding for construction of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) on the Upper Mississippi River System with the $2.5 billion for inland waterways provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

NESP would modernize and expand seven outdated locks at the most congested lock locations along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers as well as fund more than $1 billion in ecosystem restoration. A 2019 study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that rebuilding NESP locks would inject $72 billion additional dollars into the nation’s GDP.  

“The regional and national economic benefits of NESP are significant, which is why the project was included in the December 2020 Inland and Intracoastal Waterways Twenty-Year Capital Investment Strategy (CIS) developed by the Corps and the Inland Waterways User Board (IWUB),” the lawmakers wrote. “Following the 2020 CIS including NESP construction will bring immediate financial and environmental benefits throughout the system that will reverberate through the economy.”

In the Senate, the letter was cosigned by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Tina Smith (Minn.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), John Kennedy (La.), Bill Cassidy (La.), and Roger Marshall (Kansas). In the House, the letter was cosigned by U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (Iowa), Mike Bost (Ill.), Sean Casten (Ill.), Emanuel Cleaver, III (Mo.), James Comer (Ky.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Angie Craig (Minn.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Tom Emmer (Minn.), Michelle Fischbach (Minn.), Bill Foster (Ill.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (Ill.), Sam Graves (Mo.), Jim Hagedorn (Minn.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Robin Kelly (Ill.), Ron Kind (Wis.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), Darin LaHood (Ill.), Billy Long (Mo.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Betty McCollum (Minn.), Mary E. Miller (Ill.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa), Marie Newman (Ill.), Dean Phillips (Minn.), Mark Pocan (Wis.), Mike Quigley (Ill.), John Rose (Tenn.), Bobby L. Rush (Ill.), Bradley Schneider (Ill.), Jason Smith (Mo.), Pete Stauber (Minn.), Bryan Steil (Wis.), Tom Tiffany (Wis.), Lauren Underwood (Ill.), and Steve Cohen (Tenn.).

Click here to read the full letter.   


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