Durbin Urges Trump Administration To Fund Quincy Bay Restoration And Modernization Of Illinois Locks

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today spoke to Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) for Civil Works R.D. James, who oversees the Army Corps, to push for funding to restore Quincy Bay, one of the largest natural bays of the Upper Mississippi River, as well as for funding for the much needed modernization of seven locks along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  

“We know Quincy Bay is silted up and needs attention and that our Illinois locks are in desperate need of expansion and modernization.  We need the help of the Army Corps of Engineers right away, and I will continue to work with them to ensure key Illinois water infrastructure projects have the federal funding they need,” Durbin said.

Last year, Durbin included language in the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Energy & Water appropriations bill, which was signed into law in December, directing the Army Corps to continue working with Quincy to prioritize this important environmental restoration project.  Quincy Bay has experienced severe sedimentation and land erosion that is impacting the area’s ecosystem.

Durbin also secured more than $10 million in funding in the FY20 Energy & Water appropriations bill for the Army Corps to begin preconstruction, engineering, and design of the Navigation Ecosystem Restoration Program (NESP).  NESP is a five-state program that will expand and modernize seven locks at the most congested lock locations along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers as well as fund $1.7 billion in ecosystem restoration.  With more than 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports traveling through these Illinois locks, which were constructed more than 80 years ago, these locks are directly tied to the economy of both the state and the nation.  NESP provides the opportunity to protect this infrastructure from catastrophic failure and address the health of the rivers’ ecosystems. Despite years of advocating by Durbin and a bipartisan coalition from the five Upper Mississippi states, NESP has repeatedly not been funded by the Trump Administration.