[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) as well as Ranking Member on EPW’s Fisheries, Wildlife and Water Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) applauded the inclusion of several key priorities that will help Illinois in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA), which passed the EPW committee today and now heads to Senate floor for final consideration.
“I’m proud that so many important provisions Senator Durbin and I fought for to benefit our state’s economy, protect public health, improve our inland waterways and create and invest in jobs, were included by the committee,” said Duckworth. “This bill will help enhance our economic competitiveness, improve flood protections, protect the Great Lakes and safeguard our environment. I’ll continue working with Senator Durbin and my colleagues in the Senate to send this important legislation—and the Illinois-focused provisions in it—to the President’s desk.”
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“Today’s bill advanced by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee makes important investments in Illinois’ waterway infrastructure. The bill saves Illinois money by increasing the federal cost share for the Brandon Road Project to help stop the spread of Asian Carp, provides new funding to advance mitigation efforts on Chicago’s Shoreline, increases funding for Great Lakes restoration, and supports infrastructure improvements sorely needed along congested areas of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. I look forward to the Senate considering this bill for final passage soon so Illinois can begin putting these investments to work,” Durbin said.
Today’s Committee-passed AWIA legislation includes the following Duckworth and Durbin priorities:
· Modifies and Improves Inland Waterways Cost-Sharing: This provision will help expedite lock and dam modernization projects on the Illinois and Upper Mississippi Rivers to give farmers and other industries a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.
· Enhances protections for Chicago shorelines and expedites improvements to the Chicago River: The bill will help Chicago shoreline protection and resiliency efforts for areas affected by flooding in 2019 and reinforces a federal commitment to the Chicago River Restoration Framework Plan that will inform future restoration projects along the Chicago River.
· Protects the Great Lakes from the scourge of Asian Carp and reduces costs for Illinois: Building on previous efforts by Senators Duckworth and Durbin, the bill authorizes the advancement of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam and lowers construction costs for Illinois taxpayers.
· Includes $75 million to repair or replace degraded pump stations in areas like Cairo, Illinois.
· Promotes Workforce Development in the Water Utility Sector: This provision extends an existing workforce investment program from WRDA 2018 and doubles authorized funding from $1 million annually to $2 million.
· Increases Funding Authorization for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $75 million to $375 million for Fiscal Year 2022.
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