Last week, members of the Waterways Council, Inc, and stakeholders in the upper Mississippi River Basin transportation system evaluated the needs of the system, economic climate, and the impact of lock and dam outages during their annual symposium.
A commodities panel updated the group on how much steel, cement, aggregate materials, and grain are being moved on the river currently, while economists presented a macroeconomic view of the environment. Even a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers addressed the group.
And in the middle of every discussion was the elephant in the room – our country needs to invest in its river infrastructure and we continue to suffer breakdowns and lack of global competitiveness until the investment comes.
The Waterways Council, Inc, of which IL Corn is a member, leads the group on a strategy to bring awareness to the needs of the river transportation system. Though, many could argue that the needs are apparent to most at this point. What we lack is simply investment from Congress to begin.
Rest assured that upgrading the locks and dams on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers remains a top priority of your association. We will continue to advocate for funding appropriations in Congress and invest in the tools that educate and help elected officials understand the dire need for lock and dam upgrades.
Caption: Paul Jeschke, ICMB Chairman, was featured in this video advocating for locks and dams on the Illinois River. The video has been viewed over 75,000 times with advertising pushing views in the Washington, DC beltway.