Sen. Amy Klobuchar threw her support Thursday behind a bill that would raise barge and towboat fuel taxes and boost federal funding in order to pay for much-needed rehabilitation of the locks and dams along the Mississippi River.
Cosponsors of the bill, called the are Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Both states depend on river traffic for some measure of their economic activity.
The river shipping industry has called attention lately to the deteriorating state of the lock and dam system. On the Upper Mississippi, a lock failure could shut down the river, and failures of locks in Illinois and Ohio in recent years took months to repair.
“Our waterways play a vital role in Minnesota’s economy,” said Klobuchar. “Investing in our waterways, including rehabilitating the locks and dams along the Mississippi River, is critical to ensuring that barge traffic can continue so businesses can get their goods to market.”
The bill was read in the Senate Thursday and referred to the Environment and Public Works committee.