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Water resources bill advances, would fund Southern Illinois projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, which aims to strengthen America’s ports, locks, dams, and water infrastructure.

The bill, which now advances to President Trump’s desk for his signature, includes several provisions introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, to improve water infrastructure projects across Southern Illinois.

“Every year, 575 million tons of cargo pass through our inland ports and waterways, including several in Southern Illinois,” said Bost. “These projects are vitally important to our local and national economies. I’m pleased that the Water Resources Development Act includes several provisions I introduced to strengthen Southern Illinois’ water infrastructure from Wood River to Cairo and points in between.”

Bost provisions in WRDA include:

1.            Increasing federal funding authorization to help carry out six miles of sewer separation projects in Belleville and Wood River. This project will reduce sewage backup, disruptions to traffic, and other health and economic consequences resulting from overflows and untreated sewage;

2.            Creating a program for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to make repairs and improvements to Army Corps-constructed flood pumping stations, such as those in Cairo;

3.            Permitting local levee districts to make additional in-kind contributions toward achieving a positive Benefit Cost Ratio  in cases where the Corps determines that the cost of repair to a breached non-federal levee exceeds its flood prevention benefits.

4.            Increasing the federal costs share for construction of inland waterways projects, such as locks and dams.

IBJ file photo: Mike Bost.

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