WASHINGTON - Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) and U.S. Representative Sam Graves (Mo.) led a letter urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide additional funding for projects that will improve safety and navigation on the Lower Missouri River. The letter was cosigned by U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), and Jerry Moran (Kan.), along with U.S. Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Jason Smith (Mo.), and Ann Wagner (Mo.).
“Currently, there is a critically dire situation related to navigation challenges in several areas along the Missouri River where serious barge traffic accidents have occurred and commercial activity has nearly come to an abrupt halt as we enter harvest season in the Midwest,” the members wrote.
Many farmers, industries, and small businesses in the Midwest rely on the Missouri River to transport goods. High water levels and record flooding in 2019 have prevented the USACE from completing repairs on water infrastructure projects, which has led to dangerous accidents that have significantly disrupted commerce on the river.
The members continued, “We understand that the Kansas City District has received $20 million in emergency supplemental funds to conduct necessary work on the navigation channel. However, we understand that the need for resources between the Kansas City District and the Omaha District to fully address all the repairs is an estimated $200 million to ensure that the lower Missouri River is fully navigable. As this situation evolves, we request the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilize administrative flexibilities and direct additional resources to address these challenges along the Missouri River.”