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Why Locks and Dams Matter

Improving the Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio River system has been an Illinois Corn Growers Association priority for almost 20 years. Waterways infrastructure gives Illinois farmers and other Illinois industry a competitive advantage over other states for transportation of grain and other agricultural products. However, in the last 50 years, these locks and dams have become dilapidated and outdated. The crumbling lock and dam system costs Illinois corn farmers every day in lost efficiency getting their product to global marketplaces. 

Improving our lock and dam system NOW is critical not only for Illinois farmers but also for all Illinois citizens and our country and world as a whole.

Ensuring Cleaner Air

Inland waterways transport generates fewer emissions than rail or truck. The emission comparison between inland towing, rail and truck transportation shows that fewer air pollutants are generated by moving products on American’s inland navigation system.

Saving Energy

Transporting freight by water is the most energy-efficient choice. The most energy-efficient way to move commodities such as coal, grain, iron, steel, aggregates, petroleum and chemical products is to use the nation’s navigable rivers.  Barges can move one ton of cargo 576 miles per gallon of fuel.  A rail car would move the same ton of cargo 413 miles, and a truck only 155 miles.

Protecting Communities

Inland waterways transport moves hazardous materials safely.

All transport modes work hard to prevent accidents, human errors and other causes of spills, including groundings in the case of barge transportation.  Overall, spill rates are very low – with trucks losing only 6.06 gallons per one million ton-miles, rail cars only 3.86 gallons and barges 3.6 gallons per one million ton-miles.

Click here For more information on how waterways work for Illinois. See how waterways affect your state's economy by visit the Waterways Council website

Need more proof?  Check out this video from the Waterways Council of the Lockport wall collapsing on October 7, 2011.

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