Congress Passes Act to Restart Work on Chickamauga Lock - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Congress Passes Act to Restart Work on Chickamauga Lock

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A measure that would restart work to replace the Chickamauga Lock and complete the project ahead of schedule awaits the president's signature. The US House of Representatives and Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act, this week. Among the items included is a restructuring of the way funds for inland waterways are allocated.

Legislators from different areas, especially those from Tennessee, have argued that the reconstruction of the Olmsted Lock on the Ohio River is absorbing too much of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) says the new agreement takes that funding from 50% to 15% leaving more federal funds available for other projects, like the Chickamauga Lock. "Congress has done the right thing by finally agreeing to put Chickamauga Lock fourth in the line of essential American waterways to be rebuilt, and authorizing new funding to do it," Sen. Alexander said.

Though the Water Resources Development Act could clear the way for the replacement of Chickamauga Lock to be completed 6 years ahead of the projected 2026 date, Sen. Alexander added, "...the work will not be done fast enough to keep jobs flowing into East Tennessee until Congress accepts the offer of barge owners to pay more to accelerate the work. Their offer is in everyone's interest, including recreational boaters who would not have to pay more but would see their waiting time to go through the lock reduced."

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