Inland waterways funding received a boost in the just-enacted Fiscal Year 2020 spending bills. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is getting about 650 million dollars above the last fiscal year, meaning more general funds going into ongoing construction work, such as projects along the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Waterways Council Senior Vice President Debra Calhoun says that is boosting expectations for the long-sought modernization of locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers…

That’s raising hopes the Army Corps’ 2020 work plan, out sometime in February, should include new planning, engineering, and design money for Upper Mississippi locks modernization, considered important for ag…

Calhoun says construction could begin within the next five years, but notes that it’s not guaranteed. Congress had first authorized work back in 2007 replacing Midwest locks, some of which are soon approaching 100-years old.