great influx of foreign capital. Foreign capital has built processing plants, grain terminals, roads, rail, and seed facilities. The time has come to complete the Navigational Study and commit the necessary funds. To not do so will be devastating to the agricultural industry.
Ed VanderMeulen, Lafarge North America: River transportation is good for the environment and contributes to responsible use of our resources. It is good business, and it is good for our quality of life. Lafarge North America strongly supports upgrading and modernizing the lock system on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois waterways. The upgrade is long overdue and will provide benefits to the environment, safety, business, agriculture, the consumer, and our future.
Kent Schleich, Illinois Farm Bureau: River terminals close to farms are a big asset. The river keeps the costs down and reduces further stress on highways. Farmers will greatly benefit. The price farmers receive for grain depends on efficient river transportation. Supports a multiple-use strategy that includes navigation, economic development, flood control, recreation, and the environment.
Joyce Blumenshine, Citizen: The rivers need healthy ecosystems for the many life-support needs that they serve. Does not see the main use of the rivers as transportation, because there are numerous other options for transportation. Does not wish to see larger locks and dams and more barge traffic. Encourages the Corps of Engineers to treat all users of the river system with equal concern, and invest the same amount of money in the environment that the Corps is investing in the navigation upgrades.
Chris Brescia, MARC2000: Wants to applaud the Corps and other federal agencies for their new alliance and work in trying to find the right solution that doesn’t have the environment vs. economic approach. MARC2000 supports the lock improvements on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Eleonor Zimmerleine, Illinois Agri-Women: Siltation is not only from barges but also from pleasure boats, wind, and erosion. There would be less siltation if the locks didn’t break and the barges don’t have to decouple. Doesn’t believe that the traffic will increase.
David Jamison, Riverboat Captain: The Illinois and Upper Miss is filling in at an alarming rate. Sees islands disappearing. Supports the 1200 ft. locks. It will reduce the number of boats because there will be quicker turn around times. Industry is going to the Ohio because of faster turn around times.
Jim Benley, Grain Business: Rail loading cannot compete with barges in efficiency. South America has a cost advantage over the US. The US’s only advantage is its transportation system. The US balances the trade deficit with agriculture.