Arguments about how best to use the Mississippi River have become increasingly contentious in Washington – so contentious that talks have broken down on a bill that includes nearly $4-Billion to build locks on the Mississippi River, as well as the Illinois River. And the issue has been put on the shelf until after the elections. Senator Kit Bond had been pushing the bill, but says Congress has run out of time to get it passed. The largest project in the bill is construction of 1,200 foot locks on the upper Mississippi River and two on the Illinois River. Barge operators, farmers and unions have all campaigned for the project. The bill would also authorize more than a billion and a half dollars for environmental work, such as rebuilding side channels.
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