Senate Passes Durbin Amendment Ensuring Full Funding For La Grange Lock & Dam In Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that full funding will be available for the much-needed rehab of Illinois’ La Grange Lock & Dam in Versailles, Illinois.  Durbin cosponsored a bipartisan amendment to the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 funding bill with Senator John Thune (R-SD), which will free up enough funding in the Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF) to ensure La Grange receives the $28.8 million in funding needed to move forward with the rehab in FY19.  IWTF, funded by barge fuel taxes, provides the non-federal share for locks and dam projects on the inland waterways system.  The Senate passed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations FY19 funding bill by a vote of 86-5. 

“Every day, nearly 70,000 tons of goods – mostly agricultural commodities – pass through the La Grange lock and dam.  But without appropriate funding, unplanned closures of the lock could have resulted in $1.8 billion in financial losses to the Illinois economy and the industries that rely on the river,” said Durbin.  “This funding will bring the La Grange lock and dam in to the 21st century.  I’m proud to fight for funding to help grow Illinois’ economy, which is key to our competitiveness in the global economy.”

Earlier this month, Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) applauded the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) inclusion of $10 million in their FY2018 Work Plan for La Grange Lock and Dam to move forward on a major rehabilitation.

Located on the Illinois River, La Grange Lock & Dam, built in 1939, has well-exceeded its 50 year expected lifespan and is in desperate need of rehab.  It’s crumbling concrete, failing gates, and abnormally frequent emergency shutdowns result in operational delays and cost increases for shippers that impact the state’s economy.