Corn Belt Ports Reports on the Passage of the Illinois Waterways Commission Act

Corn Belt Ports Team,

We are all thrilled that the Illinois Waterway (ILWW) Ports Commission Act unanimously (let us say this again – unanimously) passed both the Illinois Senate and the House.  Check out the attached photo!  Contrary to what we sometimes might see on some cable news channels, effective bipartisan leadership still exists in our democracy, and our elected officials do, do the right thing to serve the people of their state.

We do appreciate the hard work of the bill sponsors, and all other legislators that made this happen. Please give them a big thank you when you see them.

They are listed here:

We expect the Illinois Ports Commission Act legislation to be signed early or mid-summer by the Governor of Illinois.

The Illinois Waterway Ports Commission has more great news:

  • In The U.S. Coastal and Inland Navigation System Transportation Facts & Information “Card” that was recently released, the Illinois Waterway Ports saw a 10.3% increase in freight tonnage (to 16.5 Million Tons total) since the last report.  We all like to see that type of growth.
  • The Illinois Waterway Ports also made Global Trade Magazine’s “Top 50 Power Ports List,” and the Top 25 Bulk Cargo Ports List in U.S. DOT’s 2023 Port Performance Freight Statistics Program: Annual Report to Congress.  See attached slides.
  • The LaGrange Lock and Dam on the ILWW was 100% funded in 2023 for the design needed to retrofit the dam with a modern 1200’ lock.  We would like to see some initial construction (utilities relocation) begin in 2024, as and if construction funds are available.

This legislation brings the 10 county Illinois Waterway Ports Commission (Centered on Peoria and Ottawa) in line with the 11 Illinois Counties in the Mid-America Port Commission area (Centered on Quincy and Hannibal).

We are looking forward to Iowa similarly establishing an Upper Mississippi River Ports Commission soon.

Please feel free to reach out to Chris Smith for additional information.  The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (HIRPD) was the sponsoring port (from an administrative standpoint) and Chris Smith, the Director of Operations for HIRPD has all of the background and technical information regarding this particular legislation.  Of course, our wonderful legislators (and their staffs) did the heavy lifting in Springfield that was needed.

It is always nice to see democracy work, and work well.

We will have some great news in the Mid-America Port Commission area soon.


Robert A. Sinkler

Water Resources Infrastructure Director
Heart of Illinois Regional Port District (TransPORT)
& Corn Belt Ports Executive Coordinating Director
Twin Towers Plaza
456 Fulton Street, Office Suite 253
Peoria, Illinois  61602
Cell: 309.230.8790