St. Louis Partner James Kearns authored an article in the September issue of Marine News regarding inland waterways infrastructure funding. Due to limited funding for the major repairs needed for the La Grange or Peoria lock and dam facilities in Illinois, corn and soybean growers fear the facilities might become inoperable. The Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association presented alternative funding options for the restoration or replacement of these lock and dams at the 12th Annual Waterways Symposium in November 2015. The two associations proposed the use of public-private partnerships funded in part by tolls or lockage fees, which are widely opposed within the inland waterways industry. Kearns described in detail an alternative approach using funds received by the Inland Waterways Trust Fund to support the issuance of bonds, instead of tolls and lockage fees. "There is currently pending in congress a bill that will hopefully become the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, and efforts are being made to have such enactments restored to a biennial schedule. Each of them will provide an opportunity to find a way to use public-private partnerships to provide funding to restore and improve the inland waterways infrastructure,” wrote Kearns.
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