Senate approves McConnell provisions for Ky. water infrastructure

The legislation authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to carry out projects that...
The legislation authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to carry out projects that invest in ports, harbors, and inland waterways, build resilient infrastructure, and help preserve the natural environment.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 3:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFVS) - Today, the Senate passed U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) priorities to benefit Kentucky in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA 2022).

“Kentucky sits at the heart of America’s inland waterways, serving as a national hub for transportation and commerce. Because of this, I’ve worked hard to advance the Commonwealth’s priorities in this year’s water infrastructure legislation to protect our natural heritage, foster development and growth, and help our waterside communities. I’m grateful my Senate colleagues approved these investments in Kentucky’s future,” said Senator McConnell.

The legislation authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to carry out projects that invest in ports, harbors, and inland waterways, build resilient infrastructure, and help preserve the natural environment.

The following are secured provisions that are in, or related to, the Heartland:

Kentucky Lock and Dam

Language instructing the USACE to expedite the completion of the Kentucky Lock addition project in Livingston County, Ky. The bill also includes language pausing Appropriations limits on projects, which will allow construction to continue even with possible cost increases.

“For years, I have used my leadership role in the United States Senate to advocate for the completion of the long-awaited Kentucky Lock and Dam project. I have helped secure more than $1 billion for this project, including over $465 million last year through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The language in this year’s Senate water infrastructure bill will help that project stay on track, even if it is hit by cost overruns driven by inflation. Once finished, the new Kentucky Lock and Dam will allow the Commonwealth to take full advantage of our prime location at the heart of America’s inland waterways system,” said Senator McConnell.

Columbus Belmont State Park

USACE authorization to study and examine bluff stabilization at the Columbus Belmont State Park in Hickman County, Ky.

The Park sits on top of a steep bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and welcomes many visitors from the community and surrounding region. The Park faces significant erosion, so bluff stabilization efforts will help prevent future property loss.

“Columbus Belmont State Park is one of the crown jewel attractions of the Jackson Purchase but has become threatened recently by shifts in the path of the Mississippi River. I am proud to assist this Kentucky landmark in determining the best way to stabilize its bluff and prevent future erosion. These efforts will help ensure the park will be around for generations to come,” said Senator McConnell.

75/25 Cost-Share Adjustment for Major Inland Waterways Projects

A provision adjusting the cost-share for major inland waterways projects to 75 percent from the General Fund of the Treasury and 25 percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. The cost-share was previously set at 65 percent from the General Fund of the Treasury and 35 percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.

The Inland Waterways Trust Fund receives revenue from an inland waterway user fee, paid by commercial barges operating on federally designated waterways.

This adjustment will allow the USACE to stretch the Inland Waterways Trust Fund further, injecting more federal dollars into construction projects in Kentucky and around the country.

“Kentucky has some of the best access to our nation’s inland waterways in the country, so I always look for ways to increase federal investment in infrastructure programs with a specific focus on improving inland water transportation. This cost-share adjustment will allow more federal resources to flow into these types of projects, benefitting states like Kentucky with extensive inland waterway networks,” said Senator McConnell.

Asian Carp

Language that expands the effort to control and prevent the spread of Asian Carp.

“Invasive Asian Carp have already wreaked havoc on Kentucky’s inland waterways and disrupted the recreation and tourism industries that rely on them. I’ve made this issue a priority in the Senate and helped mobilize the federal government to eradicate this destructive fish. I was proud to include language in this year’s Senate water infrastructure bill to keep this endeavor at the top of USACE’s priorities and prevent the future spread of Asian Carp,” said Senator McConnell.

Eddyville Riverport

Authorization for the sale of a USACE-owned parcel of land to the adjacent Eddyville Riverport facilities on Lake Barkley, allowing the riverport to expand its capabilities.

“Eddyville Riverport is part of Kentucky’s large and growing network of inland waterways facilities and requires new land to expand their capabilities. In this year’s Senate water infrastructure bill, I helped the Eddyville Riverport team cut through red tape and expedite the process required to acquire land from USACE. This will help the riverport expand and bring new economic opportunity to surrounding communities,” said Senator McConnell.

Copyright 2022 KFVS. All rights reserved.