Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SJR0054
Illinois General Assembly

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Full Text of SJR0054  98th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Use of the most efficient and environmentally
3friendly means of transportation lends to economic growth and
4positions the State of Illinois to successfully compete in a
5global marketplace; and
6    WHEREAS, Practical, science-based solutions that preserve
7waterborne commerce between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi
8River system is critical to our State; and
9    WHEREAS, The United States saves an estimated $200 million
10in air pollution abatements by moving bulk commodities by barge
11on the Upper Mississippi River System; and
12    WHEREAS, Commodity transportation diversions away from
13these river systems can increase delays at railroad crossings,
14amplify congestion on highways, and deteriorate State
15roadways; and
16    WHEREAS, Opening the expanded locks in the Panama Canal by
172016 will dramatically affect the United States and global
18trade patterns; and
19    WHEREAS, The State of Illinois is one of our nation's key
20agricultural states; one acre of corn can produce enough



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1kilocalories to feed 10 people for an entire year and our Upper
2Mississippi and Illinois River levees protect over 750,000
3acres of prime farm land; and
4    WHEREAS, Sixty percent of the grain exported from the
5United States travels part of its journey by barge on inland
6waterways; trade growth on the Mississippi River is projected
7to increase by 40% over the next 20 years; and
8    WHEREAS, One 15-barge tow can move 787,500 bushels of
9grain, equal to 870 semi-trailer loads or two 100-unit trains,
10barges can also accommodate product that is too heavy or too
11large to be handled by other modes of transport; and
12    WHEREAS, The State of Illinois encompasses more miles of
13rivers and levee systems than any other state; in its
14Comprehensive Plan, the Illinois Department of Transportation
15has recognized the importance of barge transportation on inland
16waterways as a critical part of the Illinois freight
17transportation system; and
18    WHEREAS, The Governor has recognized the importance of
19Illinois' waterways as a critical part of the freight
20transportation system by the formation of a multi-department
21Illinois Interagency Port Working Group; and



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1    WHEREAS, The majority of levees along the Upper Mississippi
2and Illinois River are classified as federal levees with
3operation and maintenance provided by the local drainage and
4levee district sponsors as political subdivisions of the State;
5these levees provide the sideboard for our navigation channel
6that helps create our waterway system; and
7    WHEREAS, The federal levees in this State are seeing
8changes to both safety and performance standards under the
9discretion of the United States Army Corps of Engineers' new
10Levee Safety Classification, which is causing increased costs
11to the local sponsors; and
12    WHEREAS, Illinois levees along the Upper Mississippi and
13Illinois River protect many acres of prime farmland, 13
14Illinois river ports, 18 Mississippi river ports, 139 miles of
15United States Highways and Interstates, 770 miles of railroads,
167,300 acres of State Conservation Areas, 4,100 acres of State
17Parks, and 4,000 acres of State Fish and Wildlife areas; and
18    WHEREAS, According to the Upper Mississippi River
19Comprehensive Plan, the United States Army Corps of Engineers,
20and a Tennessee Valley Authority study, improving our flood
21control system in Illinois can return 5 dollars for every one
22dollar invested in Regional Economic Development; and



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1    WHEREAS, Effective flood control infrastructure and
2management are critical to commercial navigation on these
3inland waterways; therefore, be it
6CONCURRING HEREIN, that we support the United States Department
7of Transportation's designation of the M-35 from St. Louis,
8Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota and the M-55 from Chicago via
9St. Louis, Missouri to New Orleans, Louisiana as Marine Highway
10Corridors; and be it further
11    RESOLVED, That we encourage support for the local drainage
12sponsors and the United States Army Corps of Engineers' Upper
13Mississippi River Comprehensive Plan, as approved by the
14Mississippi River Commission, for systemic flood control
15planning and implementation; and be it further
16    RESOLVED, That we support the streamlining of the State
17Levee Permitting process to encourage and facilitate both flood
18control and navigation improvements to Illinois levee systems.