Congressman Schock touts legislation that could improve locks and dams

Dec 12, 2014

Congressman Aaron Schock speaks at a news conferences at the Peoria Lock and Dam.
Credit Denise Molina-Weiger / Peoria Public Radio
Peoria Congressman Aaron Schock is touting legislation that could produce millions of dollars to upgrade the region's aged locks and dams. The measure moving through Congress increases the fees barge operators pay to fund construction projects along inland waterways.

Schock says the bill could generate 60 million additional dollars for upgrades.

“90% of our locks and dams on our waterways last year broke down. And so, obviously when that happens, it creates congestion, it creates delay and it makes us less competitive as a country.”

David Erickson is the Vice President of the Illinois Farm Bureau and a Knox County farmer. He says the legislation is backed by the industry and could produce jobs for area residents.

“It’s something that increases our efficiencies, so the payback, as some indicate, for every dollars spent in improving our inland waterway system, it’s about a $10 return.”

Schock says the money could also be used to widen inland waterways to increase goods traveling down the Mississippi River. The Republican says there’s an eight-billion dollar backlog of repairs on the aging system. Schock says the Peoria Lock and Dam is in need of about 36-million dollars in repairs.