The Waterways Council Inc (WCI) is holding a national conference this week in Washington, D.C. On the agenda is an address by Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue and by officials from the Army Corps of Engineers. WCI members and directors will discuss priorities, strategies, and direction for getting locks and dams upgraded in Illinois and all over the nation.
WCI is an important IL Corn relationship, providing the resources, the expertise, and the partnership opportunity to move legislation and get new locks build on the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
As an example of WCI’s impact of late, the fact that Olmsted Locks and Dam on the Ohio River near Metropolis, IL was opened in August 2018 is due partially to the cooperative work of WCI and its partners.
WCI worked on a bipartisan effort, during a very partisan Congress, to increase the barge fuel tax from 20 cents to 29 cents in 2014. In the same year, WCI led the charge to change the funding mechanism for Olmsted to an 85 percent federal, 15 percent industry formula. Previously, the funding was 50/50. Trying to keep up with major cost overruns from Olmsted was draining the industry fund dry.
These important changes in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 broke the funding logjam and enabled progress to resume on Olmsted.
WRRDA 2014 also allowed full and secure funding for the completion of the Kentucky Lock and Dam project, the Chickamauga Lock and Dam project, and the Lower Mon project as well.
The relationship between IL Corn and WCI is strong, with our Executive Director Rodney Weinzierl serving as Vice President of their Executive Committee. IL Corn funds many educational and awareness projects with WCI as well, including this video featuring Paul and Donna Jeschke from Mazon, IL.
Thanks WCI! We couldn’t do it without you!