The U.S. Senate passed legislation to improve transportation on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers for Midwestern farmers shipping bulk commodities. The legislation provided $2 million for the initial phase of the Upper Mississippi
and Illinois waterway system navigation modernization project. The project will redesign and expand seven locks -- five on the Mississippi and two on the Illinois -- that currently delay shipments on the river because the locks are too small to handle modern-sized barge tows.
Modernizing locks is considered important because barge transportation is one of the cheapest ways to move bulk commodities.