Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday said the government funding bill will fully fund construction of Chickamauga Lock for the fourth consecutive year, providing up to $78 million – which is more than twice the amount of funding the project received last year.
Senator Alexander said he has made completion of Chickamauga Lock one of his top priorities as chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for recommending funding levels for the Army Corps of Engineers.
He said, “This bill provides $6.8 billion – a new record funding level in a regular appropriations bill – for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain and rebuild our nation’s waterways, including up to $78 million to fully fund construction at Chickamauga Lock for the fourth consecutive year.
This is great news for East Tennessee since the new lock will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for manufacturers across the state.
“More U.S. senators ask to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers than any other part of the budget, so I am very glad we were able to provide record funding this year.
“This has all been made possible because Congress has also for four straight years spent all the money we’ve collected from big barges going through the lock and matched it with federally appropriated dollars to provide enough funds to keep this project going.
"The bill also provides $1.7 million for dredging at Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake, and provides a total of $1.4 billion from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, for the most critical maintenance needs at our nation’s ports and harbors. Year in and year out the Corps does important work for Memphis on the Mississippi River – it does dredging so that we have ports that are open, which helps create thousands of new jobs. This money will help the Corps continue to do their work to prevent flooding, and then when there is flooding, to deal with the damage.”
The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining and rebuilding locks and dams, dredging rivers and harbors, working to prevent floods and storm damage, and building environmental restoration projects.
The bill includes the following:
- Provides $6.8 billion for the Corps of Engineers, which is a record level of funding in a regular appropriations bill
- Spends all of the estimated Inland Waterway Trust Fund revenues and matches those dollars to fund lock and dam projects, including up to $78 million for Chickamauga Lock
- Includes $1.4 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, for the most critical maintenance needs at our nation’s ports and harbors
- $1.7 million for dredging at Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake